Thursday, April 29, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-Last Call For A Lost Cause

After seven and a third years of delievering some type of top ten, I have decided to take a break from this. The purpose was to document all types of music out there that corporate radio seems to overlook and what the major labels don't want you to hear. This has been a labor of love but it takes about an hour and half to research the songs, make observations and try to discuss them with eager readers. In other words, I'm getting bored with this and I need to do something more with my time. Plus I was getting tired of using the backspacer to redo mistakes or wrong words. To my readers, thank you for your support.

Some news of note.

I'm not sure what to take about Jeff Berlin turning down joining Van Halen if it's a publicity stunt to promote his new album or if he couldn't take the egos in that band. Never heard anything from him although having Bill Bruford playing drums would be worth a listen to.

I can't into these new bands that SPIN or Rolling Stone or Pitchford tout. MGMT played SNL and the first reaction was this sounds the same as many other bands that are flavor of the week. I do like the new Airbourne No Guts No Glory album since I always am a sucker for the three chords and turn it up throwback sound of the vintage AC/DC.

Coming June 11-13 in Dubuque Three Dog Night and Blood Sweat & Tears will be playing the Riverfest. And the Three Dog Night will return in September for Fryfest in Iowa City. Danny Hutton and Cory Wells are still part of 3 Dog but outside of David Clayton Thomas, I have no clue who else is in BS&T.

Let's just call the new Hole album a Courtney Love solo record under the Hole banner. Courtney seems to rub people the wrong way, even those who try to reach out and help her. Billy Corgan bashed her a good one in Twitter. Only good thing about America's Sweetheart was the artwork of Olivia De Bertinis, famed erotic artist known for her Bettie Page drawings. America's Sweetheart is one of those rare albums to which you buy for the artwork and not music.

The Top Ten of The Week.

1. Manifesto-Roxy Music 1979 While some people complained that reunited Roxy Music wasn't as glam as before, I always thought that this album was a bit more listenable than Siren, which is considered to be their masterpiece. This kinda reminds me of a bummed out party at the old Studio 54. Your thoughts may vary.

2. Desert Dream-Tangerine Dream 1977 This past month I've been listening to a wide variety of music, going from punk to rock, to country and jazz and kraut rock. While getting bored out of the usual classic rock rot, I've been turning my attention to these guys whose side long albums and suites are not for the faint of heart but this does remind me of a horror picture at the beginning of this number. With Peter Baumann in, this was the classic lineup although Edgar Froese has continued the Dream way into the new millenium.

3. Behind The Wheel-Shades Apart 2001 What to make of somebody who goes from Tangerine Dream to Shades Apart but that has been the way of thinking all month. This band started out as hardcore before signing to Universal and losing their ID on their flop Sonic Boom. What does it mean that the best song off this album came from Seeing Things and remade again? Sonic Boom became a sonic bust and the band was never from again.

4. The Shadow Of Night-Jason & The Scorchers 1995 Upon talking about music stores with my GF, I made a point and bitched about how Best Buy doesn't have a decent music section to which she mentioned that if you want to get anything, you have to order online from Best Buy which defeats the sense of purpose of even going up there anymore. So I ordered the albums off Amazon and are much cheaper. In this case if you can get the new Jason & the Scorchers CD right from the band themselves and avoid the major label middleman. This is from their 1995 reunion album.

5. Diddy Wah Diddy-The Remains 1966 Great cover of the Bo Diddley chestnut by Barry Tashin and gang.

6. A Month Of Sundays-Sick Of It All 2010 Last hardcore band standing? SOIA has been around for over 20 years and while trends come and go, their NY hardcore punk hasn't changed a bit. Although they do throw in another chord to this song it's pretty damn melodic. But of course not enough to be heard on modern rock radio. No freaking way.

7. 5:15-The Who 1973 I keep hearing rumours that The Who will have to retire since Pete Townsend's is losing his hearing which is a shame. But really The Who hasn't been a real band since 1978 when Keith Moon checked out and definly after John Entwistle 2002's passing.

8. Nice To Know You-Incubus 2001 A band that I bought some and play some and traded some away. Brendan O'Brien didn't give them all that much that Scott Litt didn't do better and you can hear the difference on their ignored Monuments & Melodies best of. But I do have a soft spot for Make Yourself and Morning View though.

9. Atlantic City-Bruce Springsteen 1982 Did I read it right that Little Steven said that Born to Run sucked? I know a lot of folks would disagree with that bigtime. I always perferred The River or Tunnel Of Love over Born To Run myself but I also like bits and pieces of Bruce's Nebraska album including this haunting track this is number 9 on the top ten of the week.

10. Steel Town-Airbourne 2010 And in the final anaylsis, SPIN may include Actung Baby as the best album of the past 25 years but that's their opinion. My favorite album of the past 25 years I don't play very often either and I told you about it, you wouldn't know anything about them. While people rave about Yeah Yeah Yeahs or MGMT or anything with Dangermouse DJing, I will in the end will go with the three chords and turn it up to ten mentality when I want to rock out. AC DC has the idea down pat and Airbourne isn't doing anything different. In fact it's a good AC DC knockoff with nonsense lyrics and chorus but a rowdy bunch singing in the background. I was surprised to hear this on Real Rock 93.1 instead of Nickelback. It's nonsense, it's loud and it's fun, unlike anything on KDAT or 96.5 or top forty.

In short, The Top Ten Of The Week is compliation of what was played at home or in the car or heard on the radio. Anybody can do a top ten, I only done this the last 7 and a quarter years as examples. Good music is timeless and it's out there.

Check it out.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Somedays You Just Cannot Win, Other days it is worse

I think I was born under a bad sign.

It has been a crappy month, had to pay in taxes to live in this great fucking state of Iowa. Used to be that I didn't till Marion acted a 4 percent tax levy (it's worse in Springville 5 Percent which is why i keep a Marion address) and paid 33 bucks for the honor of dealing with harsh winters, tornados, earwigs and fucking water in the basement if we get 4 inches of rain or more.

I can't seem to do right at work. They yell at me if I am not doing work, they yell at me if I do work and put it up there for the seniors to bundle it. Seems like I'm at a rock and a hard place. Just can't win at work. And then I go home and have to deal with Mother Nature sending her stupid animals out there to commit suicide under my car wheels. Amazing how I missed Mr Bunny, he gets to live another day to fuck some more and create more rabbits. Mr. Squirrel wasn't so lucky. And then there's the damn red lights that I continue to hit at the dammed Marion Bypass.

At work we have shit printers and even worse crap towers that the paper comes off the pin hole feeders. Of course our seniors didn't bother to come over so perhaps I had some revenge of dropping my work off before 11, didn't intend to. It's frustrating to try to work the paper through the towers and watching the damn thing pull the paper off the penfeeds. And then it jams in the cutter. And I'm wishing that I can just win the lottery so I can retire from my job and stay home and the hell off the highways so I don't have to deal with traffic and stoplights that turn red if they see a Gray Corsica coming their way.

It's not much better at home. Springville Cable is the worst fucking cable outfit that i have ever seen or had the misfortune to be with. We get fucked every time the Cubs play on TBS and this sunday was no exception. Instead of watching a 12-2 Cub victory, we had Headline News. TBS had 22 games last season and over half of them got replaced by Headline news or a blank screen. And of course my GF had to chip in and said she got to watch it on her cable. Springville Cable fucking sucks did I mention? Then trying to watch a movie on TCM and Springville Cable decides to do their fucking EAS test to which you get a blue screen and the damn warning signal and when it's done you missed the movie plot. They do it at around 1:30 AM when I am watching tv. Mediacom might be a piece of shit cable company but at least they don't fuck with your signal when it comes to baseball or testing their emergency signal when your watching something.

The net is worse with only Dialup from the unreliable MSN network and half the time I'm fighting that too. There is high speed internet....from Springville Cable of course so we're screwed out here regardless.

Depression is a way of life for me I guess, perhaps I got Demertia or Torrette's since I fly off the handle everytime something pisses me off. Life is too short to be pissed off but what does it mean that when I try to look at the positives of this life, something goes wrong and I go on a cussing spree. Saturday Morning, had to strip down the bed to clean the sheets due to a little accident. Half of bottle of diarrea pills stopped that. But still had to clean the damn sheets regardless. At work it feels like I don't accomplish anything, we got all these temp help and we are not busy so I'm regulated to do odds and ends. It's funny how I have remained at my job for 20 plus years but feel like I'm second rate. That it seems like I'm a fallguy or somebody's punchline to a joke. Or people just staring at me, waiting for the boiling point to go over and I go on a cussing attack and rip paper or slam doors like a damn 7 year old. Should know better but gawd it feels like I'm being punished from a previous life and feel like that I'm the work buffoon. And it's never the case in point. I do feel i'm a good worker but it seems I'm being savagated by fate. And I don't like it one fucking bit.

My GF, God bless her, does her best to get me out of this bad mood. She always wants to hear me rant and rave about my bad day at work, or the fucked up lights, or my shortcomings and inability to handle it all. Problem remains that I always tend to fight myself more than the bad things that do happen and taking things personally. Yes that's not supposed to be the way it should be, but everything gets to me. I really wish I can stay at home or moved back into town and ride a bike to work although that's not possible but wish I could have a job that would let me stay at home and not deal with stressful shit that makes me wanna throw my 32 oz Pepsi at some clown who cuts me off or passes me at a 100 miles an hour. And there are days I would like nothing more to close my eyes forever and move on to the next life since I feel I have done all I can with this life but I know my GF would object strongly to that one. I think she's the only positive thing that is in my life. Without her, I'm sure I would be even more hard to live with, hard to work and so on.

It seems that every year we go through cycles, the good cycles and the bad and it seems like I'm in the latter. I hate this state, I hate this time of year when it rains every fucking weekend and I'm cussing out the heavens while drying out the basement for the 40th time. I'd love to move out to Kingman or some AZ town and have my own music store but nobody buys cds and albums anymore so that would be a failure waiting to happen.

So here I remain. Praying that we don't get a wet spring and hoping for better things to come. Or have a more stronger drug to get me through this bullshit.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-People Demand Good Music

Wal Mart continues to shrink their CD section, it's now down to aisle and half! They used to be four rows of cds five years ago. However, you can get the exclusive version of AC/DC Iron Man 2 cd which isn't that great. Stick with the original albums.

The last couple times I went out to Coralville/Iowa City I ran into Tim, one of my friends that used to hang at Relics when they were in business and dammed if I didn't run into him at Real Records. He's 42 years and still buys The Fall and he did pick up The Birthday Party Greatest Hits CD. Could have given him my copy if I known he wanted a copy. Betcha Tim will still be listening to The Fall when he turns 50.

This weeks songs of note.

1. Just Got Paid-ZZ Top 1972 Wally World continues to shrink their CD section and pretty soon there won't be anything cds there but they did quietly put a couple of classic albums in the five dollar bins, one of which was Rio Grande Mud, the last ZZ Top album I have yet to listen to. This was the B Side to La Grange and it got airplay on the underground stations in the mid 70s. Unfortunly, the WB reissue of ZZ Top's early albums have been colourized by 80s drums and processed guitar almost making the album damn near unlistenable. At least the 1978 Best Of ZZ Top still has the original mix to it.

2. Meat-Moe. 1997 Jam band that recorded two albums for Sony Music in the mid 90s made a EP called She Sends Me, a cut from No Doy and it got some airplay but not much. Anyway the next track is a 45 minite jam called Meat and Moe. collectors have said that this cut is great to jam out and toke up a joint with. Not much into toking myself but I'll take a nice tune to go driving with.

3. Mercy Mercy-Don Covay 1965 Covay was one of the forgotten soul singer of the mid 60s and had a couple hits on Atlantic and I think The Stones covered this on one of their albums but I had this on Sold Gold Soul, an compliation album that I bought years ago as a 9 year old and had for years till the album got wet after a flooding rain that seeped into the basement and got moldy so I had to throw it out. For somebody whose grown up on soul music I don't add enough soul music to my top ten and perhaps I'll add more in the future.

4. Can't You Hear The Cows-The Turtles 1968 B Side to Rock And Roll Music a failed 45, The Turtles always seem to use the B Side for interesting throwaways (remember Umbassa The Dragon? B side to Sound Asleep.) Each and every day/Eating all that hay/Moo Baby Moo Baby. The song can be found on the budget Laser Light comp Story Of Rock And Roll.

5. Edge Of The Century-Shades Apart 1999 Forgotten Power Punkers made four fair to meddling albums for Revelation and later Universal/Republic and you can find their albums in the dollar bins all across America but this song has always been a part of the R. Smith Sunday Night Show and still get requested from time to time. I remember previewing it at the old Tower Records in Tempe and then drove down to ZIA's for a promo copy for six bucks. Back then, there were so many CD stores in business in Phoenix that it was possible to find new releases used anywhere down there.

6. My Favorite Things-John Coltrane 1960 Yep it's jazz but I think it sounds more fusion than jazz and it goes on for more than 13 minites. J.C. was beginning to redefine jazz and music as we know it. Of course he was putting together his classic lineup of McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones although Jimmy Garrison wasn't in the band yet, it was Steve Davis on bass. J.C. would move on to greater heights with A Love Supreme and then go out of space with those free form avant garde jazz excursions. I think Coltrane may have pioneered grunge with Om. And it was recorded in Seattle.

7.  Karkadon-The Devil's Anvil 1967 Middle eastern rock and roll, this band featured Felix Pappalardi and Steve Knight who would later form Mountain with Leslie West. They were signed to Columbia Records and made Hard Rock From The Middle East; an album that got good reviews but died an ugly death when the Israel/Egypt 1967 war broke out and nobody would buy this. Collectibles Records reissued this along with The Freak Scene/Psychedelic Psoul album as a 2 on 1 CD. Yet another weird CD find at Half Priced Books.





8. Too Much Of Nothing-Bob Dylan/The Band 1975 From The Basement Tapes. Sometimes I think The Basement Tapes are a better 2 record set than Blonde On Blonde but that's just my opinion.

9. Maybe I'm Amazed-Faces 1971 Honestly, I have never liked Paul McCartney's version of this song and hated the Wings Over America version with a passion. In fact, it's a given that if this came on classic rock radio, I'd changed the channel. Faces did a live version of this song for the Long Player album and I think I perfer this version over Macca's anyday.

10. Two Heads-Jefferson Airplane 1968 B side to Ballad Of You and Me and Pooneil. Think I got this at Woolworth's in Webster City and it's one of my favorite Grace Slick's songs that she penned for the Airplane and kudos to Spencer Dryden for some nifty hi hat work. Taken off the hippy dippy After Bathing At Baxter's which Two Heads follows hippy dippy throwaway Spare Chaynge

And so endth this hippy dippy version of the top ten.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Record Store Day In Iowa City

The Iowa City Record Stores really didn't have much in terms of vinyl although I think the highlight was a John Lennon limited edition of a 3 45s and some other stuff for 18.99 but I passed on it. I think Kirk at Record Collector got some Hendrix stuff that he kept for himself but he can do that if he wanted to.

The lowdown of things gotten

Faces-Long Player CD
Moe-Meat EP (a 45 minite jam of sorts that seems to be a collector's item for Moe. Fans)
Don Covay-Mercy/See Saw (a 2 on 1 CD on Koch that record collector had for years)
Atlantic Unearthed-Soul Brothers (Rhino) A collection of unreleased and 45 versions of mostly slow tempo soul numbers that you can live without.
Webb Wilder-Born To Be Wilder-His recent live album on Blind Pig, got for three bucks simply of the fact that it was a promo and didn't have a insert of songs but i can get them off the net.

Unfortunly, I didn't find anything vinyl from Goodwill or Salvation Army nor Stuff Etc but did find three things from Half Priced Books in CR

The Fabulous Don Gibson- His early 50s country sides for Columbia on the budget Harmony label. I think it dates from the early 60s and the vinyl in very good shape.
Craig Fuller/Eric Kaz-1978 album on Columbia from the future member of Little Feat and former Pure Prairie League singer of Amie fame. Not memorable but it's your typical late 70's California pop.
The Ladiesman-a Warner Special Products 2005 vinyl piece of selected funky soul and jazz stuff from the likes of Oscar Brown Jr, Mose Allison, T Bone Walker and Brother Jack McDuff.

With this, the next bargain hunt should be when I do vacation in June or July. Looking back, perhaps I should have gone to Dubuque instead of Iowa City. The damn traffic lights suck and i had more than my share of delayed reds which I got have idiots riding my butt on the way home.

This dumbfuck driver that tailgated me halfway to Solon and then had the nerve to pass me on a blind do not pass curve, I got this dumbass license plate. Personal to IA Plate 856-AMG Johnson county, you are the reason why we have accidents due to your lack of judgement. You shouldn't be driving a car asshole, I assure you if you got hit head on and somehow gotten me into a accident I would be kicking your sorry ass to hell and back and back there again. You deserved getting the finger your way not once but twice and it's good thing that I didn't have a drink in my hand or i'd be throwing it at you. Mr 856-AMG Johnson County IA, do us a favor and stay off the fucking roads, you'll be doing the whole world a favor. Even better if you die. Thanks for fucking up my day asswipe.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-Supergrass Is No More

Sorry to report that Supergrass has decided to call it a day after seventeen years and five albums together. They made two classic albums: 1997's In It For The Money and 2002's Life On Other Planets. For the curious, try Supergrass is 10, their best of.

I guess Jack Bruce is a little late for the bus when he said that Cream will never reunite ever again. Didn't Eric Clapton said that in 2008 in a Rolling Stone interview? And Ginger Baker grumbled that Bruce plays his bass way too loud and can't sing anymore. So I guess it finally hit Mr. Bruce that Cream is over and done with.



And now our latest Top Ten Of The Week.

1. Adventures In Success-Will Power 1983 Not to be confused with Will To Power, that goofy assed duo that had a medley hit with Baby I Love Your Way/Free Bird, this is Lynn Goldsmith's project. Goldsmith, who back in the late 70s was one of the most well known rock and roll photo shooter convinced Chris Blackwell on a project of uplifting feel good music and lyrics of positivity. She also got Todd Rungren to record the project and got Sting and Andy Summers of the Police to contribute this little number, which did get some video airplay on MTV and USA's Night Flight. Found this in Dubuque at Goodwill last weekend.



2. Bring It To Jerome-Bo Diddley 1955 The man was ahead of his time with his guitar beats and rapping. He also got lotsa help from Jerome Green who shook those shakers on his best known hits, Bo Diddley, Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover and plenty more. Of course his best of albums always seems to miss a hit here or two and the 2008's Bo Diddley Gold is no exception (where's 500% More Man? Here Tis? Oh Yeah?) but it does cover of the most familar songs of Bo and company. And it's the best in terms of remastered stuff. Would have been better had Universal USA issued the 2 CD Bo Anthology that the UK label put out but what do I know? I do know is that the major labels continue to screw Bo, even when he's dead. Manfred Mann did a cover of this song.

4. Annabel-The Volebeats 1997 This was the band that I was looking for after I left Madison and thinking I could find their 2005 album down here but ended up finding instead Sky And The Ocean instead. Kinda country rock with a guitar edge like the Shadows of Apache fame, I knew I heard this song somewhere before and I did. The 100's did a cover of this on their Take The Gravel Home album a few years ago.

5. It's Over-Boz Scaggs 1976 He put the drive in The Steve Miller Band but when he left, he became a blue eyed soul singer starting with Slow Dancer and later his biggest selling album ever Silk Degrees although this song only made it to number 38 on the Billboard Chart. I forgot just how good Silk Degrees was till I bought it this weekend and played it. Scaggs had major hits with Lowdown and Lido Shuffle and Rita Coolidge took We're All Alone to the top of the charts in 77. The followup album bombed and the next album I bought, Middleman was Silk Degrees Part 2 but not as inspired and I never played it that much. Outside of You Got Some Imgination, it was blah. But Silk Degrees, from start to finish was his shining moment. Still is come to think of it.

6. It's Alright Mama (I'm only bleeding) Bob Dylan 1965 The beginning of Dylan's electric phase and damn he was rewriting the music history with this album Bringing It All Back Home. Roger McGuinn did a nice cover of this for the Easy Rider Soundtrack since Columbia either refused or outpriced Dunhill/ABC over the use of this song.

7. Love In The Harbour-A Band Of Bees 2007 Really there wasn't much that I got excited about last decade about new bands but there were a couple that I followed. A Band Of Bees made Free The Bees, one of the lost classic albums of 2005 with bits of Pink Floyd here, Hawkwind there and good old fashioned Booker T And The MGs in others. The followup Octopus, sold about 40 copies in the US and though good wasn't as earthshaking as Free The Bees. This kinda sounds like The Moody Blues but without the mellotron.

8. Hellbound Train-Delta Moon 2010 New music from Tom Gray and company. Gray used to be the lead singer and keyboardist for New Wavers The Brains before they mutated with new personel and became The Georgia Satellites but by then Gray moved on, changed from keyboards to a National Steel Guitar and made five swamp rock blues albums with Mark Johnson to be known as Delta Moon and the new album shows that they still got that blues and boogie down inside them, although Delta Moon is more blues than boogie. I was very surprised to see that somebody actually had the new album in stock and it wasn't Best Buy. Thank you very much Moondog Music in Dubuque. Now if only somebody had the new Jason & The Scorchers and the Len Price 3 albums..............

9. Mama Let Him Play-Douchette 1977 Classic rock radio bores the fuck out of me. Overplayed songs that I never want to hear again and I switched to The FOX just in time for the ending of Wonderful Tonight by E.C and when I heard the opening chords of this song by Jerry Doucette I actually had a smile starting to form on my face. This song brings back memories of Gladstone-Parnell doing a cool cover of this when they played live and was the rage of Cedar Rapids back in 1980 but swore I never heard Douchette's version on radio back then. Hear it more nowadays than back then. Found the album at Goodwill and picked it up and that's the best song off that album, nothing else came close to rocking. Was on Mushroom Records. Douchette would record one more album and disappeared. Side note: K-Tel Records actually reissued Mama Let Him Play on CD back in the mid 90s under the ERA label and is a much sought after collector's item. And yeah, I used to have the CD long time ago. Wished I had it now but not going to pay 100 dollars for it via amazon.com. The vinyl will do.

10. Save Tonight-Eagle Eye Cherry 1998 Speaking of one hit wonders......This was the first and only top ten number from legendary jazz player Don Cherry's son and it has that jam band vibe that sounded a bit like Blues Traveler or Sister Hazel and still gets lots of airplay on 104.5 or Mix 96.5. Sold a ton of Desireless, EE Cherry's 1998 album for WORK/Sony but the majority of them are now at Goodwill or in the dump. A pretty good album come to think of it but EE Cherry would move on to make a couple albums for MCA, one is a import only since the US one didn't sell as good as Desireless. I'm sure it will be on one of those 90s compliations that Time Life is working on that you will see late night. Eagle Eye is the brother of Nenah Cherry, best known for her 1989 album Raw Like Sushi. And I'm sure can be found in the bargain bins of your local thrift store too.

...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

On The Subject Of Aaron Fuller, Delta Moon, etc.

Even with the arrival of Fran McCaffery the Iowa Men's BB team continue to have defections, including the leader scorer from last year's 10-22 flop Aaron Fuller and Cody Larson decided that he didn't want to be part of the team and got out of his release as well as Ben Burst who we can now call Ben "the bust" Burst. This continues to be the ways and means of the former coach Todd Lickliter, to which ball players would quit and go elsewhere. Fuller getting homesick and Larson wants to play for a winner I guess but wants to have Iowa recuit him from the rumor wire. Perhaps if Cody Larson wanted to apply some effort he could have been the next Les Jepsen who came from South Dakota, was it North Dakota. In essence, Fran McCaffery can now start over and get some AAU ballplayers to come in and learn an uptempo game. Losing Fuller does hurt but then again he wasn't exactly the second coming of Kevin Gamble either, he was a work in progress and sometimes looked good but mostly looked out of place even in that boring half court offense that Lickliter was teaching them. Perhaps that's what Cory Larson or Ben Burst wanted, to play in a blah offense so they could throw up three point cinderblocks or just run in circles and trying to pick out what cheerleader they wanted to score with, if that was the only way they could score. I don't buy the logic that McCaffery was selling himself as the Anti Lickliter and if he did then shame on him. Lickliter did it the best way he could and now has taken the first installment of his buyout to return to Indiana and so did John Lickliter who everybody knew wasn't going to hang around. Perhaps Fran told Cory and Aaron that the new uptempo offense was going to require lots of running and more running and they jumped ship since they got used to run whenever you wanted to last season. But Fuller is no Tyler Smith nor Tony Freeman. Nothing wrong than getting homesick but Fuller I'm sure will be spending more time as a second stringer than a starting player for the Hawks next season.

So which means if Fran McCaffery is really serious of asking for input of former Hawkeyes on getting replacement players for the departed John Lickliter and Aaron Fuller and dreamers such as Ben Burst or Cody Larson, now is the time to search far and wide for that talent pool for he's going to need it right now. Even in that case I still have a feeling The Hawks will have a better record than last year. We'll see.

Delta Moon has released their fifth album since their inception and Hellbound Train continues the winning streak of great swamp rock blues that former Brains leader Tom Gray really doesn't have to rely on that moniker as "the former leader of The Brains". Gray has now slipped into a type of vocals that recalls JJ Cale at times. Hellbound Train is the second album that Gray has done without a female counterpoint vocalist and he knows his blues very well with a faithful reading of Fred McDowell's You Gotta Move but he excels with the swamp rocking title track and the R and B feel of Stuck In Carolina and the twin steel guitar solos of Gray and Mark Johnson remains to be heard to be believed. I could really do without the Plantation Song which closes out the album but I never argue with a great train song and Tom Gray has a thing for trains since he wrote two songs with trains in them. I've given up hope of Universal ever releasing The Brains two albums for Mercury but with Delta Moon they bypass the major label catch 22 in favor of self released or going with independent labels that love original music and Hellbound Train doesn't disappoint. And I was doubly amazed that I found that album at all thanks to Moondog Music in Dubuque who continues to support the independent labels. Unlike Best Buy.

And it was 30 years ago that I did buy The Brains first album on cassette and still think it's one of the best new wave albums ever made with Money Changes Everything being the best known hit. B side was Girl In The Magazine, which maybe one of the best songs about masterbations ever recorded. The Brains never had any of their albums issued on CD, a crime against humanity if you ask me so I dubbed my cassette version on a CD and life has been happy for me since then.

I do keep up on the latest events of the world via Twitter but I have unfollowed a few folks after them complaining about my observations of the world and chatting with my GF which is the only I can chat with her since MSN instant messenger took a shit from their damn updates. Too bad that MSN cannot leave things the way things are when they work. I don't need fourteen windows of other shit that I don't use or need. Or when I do try to talk to some of the followers they don't reply back which makes me wonder about if I'm interferring with their livelihood. So I grant them their release and unfollow them, just like they unfollow me when I'm talking with my girl. I'm one of those folk that do like to keep in touch with friends but after a while if I feel like talking to the walls would get a better reaction than I feel like I'm intruding in their space if I make a comment. I enjoy reading the antics of some of them when they add a new blog to their blogsite and one of them is so direct and funny about her failings of trying to find the right guy that she should consider making a pitch for her own reality show. It also show that perhaps she's either too high maintance or too self important to find a decent man. Sometimes I think she's attracted to the wrong kind but it's not for me to say anything about what I think. She'd probably be so pissed at me that she blog about the self serving music critic that butted in her business with his own observations. But if you only in it for the penis size and bank account, you're going to be one lonely woman spinster for the rest of your life. So it was written and so shall it be done.

And I'm sure this particular woman will get plenty more sex in a month then i will in my lifetime but that's all right. I've learn to wait it out. But I'm also thankful that I have gotten a very good woman in the one that I found that takes me for what I'm worth and who I am. Love isn't about big penis and big money, a true love is somebody toughing it out with you through good and bad times and for better or worse. Thank my lucky stars that I found that woman.

And finally, I finally recalled the band that I heard at Strictly Discs last month and was frantically searching for that album, they are The Volebeats and I gather they're based in Royal Oak Michigan. Unfortuly the album that I found at Moondogs wasn't the album played at Madison, this one was called Sky And The Ocean and the main songwriter is in Outrageous Cherry. Volebeats sound a lot like echofiled BoDeans or Long Ryders and one of the songs Annabel was later covered by local faves The 100's on Take The Gravel Home. I do tend to think I will get that elusive album since I've seen it listed via Amazon.com. And maybe a few more. I missed out on this band but I shall make that up in the coming weeks.

And so it goes.

Side note: Ben Burst had a successful career at Wisconsin, owning the record of made 3 pointers 235 for the UW. He's now part of the Go Empire Group in his after basketball career. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-I've Got Your Classic Rock Right Here

Basically, it's been a very quiet week here at R Smith's House Of Hits due to the annual allergy flu and lack of ambition to go out to seek out new music so this will have to do.

1. Green Grass & High Tides-The Outlaws 1975 Funny how classic rock radio plays the hell out of Free Bird but avoids this FM underground classic. I mean this is one of the greatest mullet rock songs ever. Even Beaker Street used to play this alot back in the mid 70s although I haven't seen Clyde Clifford played it recently judging from reading what songs he did play. I know growing up, that Green Grass would be the perfect song to end my busy day. In fact I played this to conclude my sunday night showcase. Yeah I'm still trying to convince one of these web radio stations to take a chance on my playlist but no takers. I'm on dialup anyway so nevermind.

2. You Don't Know What You Mean To Me-Wet Willie 1979 From their disco album Which One's Willie? Don't know what happened to them but Lennie Penze didn't do them any favors by going for a more disco sound. Most of side two sucks but the last song, which is this Sam & Dave cover actually is more in tune of what Wet Willie does best. Too bad Epic didn't let them go in that direction. Found the album for a dollar at Mad City Music Exchange in my Madison bargain hunt trip of a couple weeks ago.

3. Phamton Writer-Gary Wright 1977 Yeah I'm stuck in the 70s this week kids. Gary had a major hit with Dream Weaver and then Love Is Alive but this single bombed big time on the charts to the point that Warner Brothers didn't even include this song on a Gary Wright best of. Had to wait till the cheapo cheapo label Flashback put this on the Dream Weaver and other hits compliation. I love this song, the call and response of the chorus. From Light Of Smiles, to which made a beeline to the cutouts in record time.

4. Please Don't Touch-The Pirates 1977 Punk rock was the rage but pub rock was for the old farts at that time. Mick Green reformed The Pirates and added the raging Frank Farley on drums and Johnny Spence on bass and vocals and this band was dynamite on stage, they blew everybody away. Originally a 1960 something UK hit with original singer Johnny Kidd, which was more rockabilly pop. By 1977, Mick Green was teaching the punks a thing or two on how to play the guitar, which influnced Wilko Johnson of Dr. Feelgood fame. The reformed Pirates made two loud and crashing albums for Warner Brothers which sold about 28 copies. Produced by the late, great Vic Maile.

5. Personality Crisis-New York Dolls 1973 Glam punks or just plain boozed out drug addicts? The original NY Dolls was one crazyassed band with Johnny Thunders bashing those guitar riffs to David Johansen's vocals. Critics loved them, the buying public ignored them and if anybody did buy their albums they became punk rockers. Go figure. Took me about 30 plus years to warm up to them and still have reservations about their music, perferring the later day Dolls which lasted twice longer than the originals although Johansen and Sylvian Sylvian are the only two original members still alive.

6. Mercury Blues-Steve Miller Band 1966 This from a forgotten soundtrack from the 60s this is more hippy dippy blues than the version you're more familar with, which is off Fly Like An Eagle. Boz Scaggs does the vocals on this hard rocker. You can find this version on History Of Texas Music Volume 3, which came out on Rhino and now is out of print. Happy hunting.

7. Let Her Dance-Bobby Fuller Four 1965 Another track from History Of Texas Music Volume 3, Bobby Fuller remains one of the most tragic rock and roll artists ever. The guy never made a bad album and his singles are the stuff of legend to wear 45s out of. I think Marshall Crenshaw did a cover of this 20 years later but you simply can't beat the original.

8. Time Was-Wishbone Ash 1972 From Argus. Wishbone Ash never sold that many copies of albums but those who managed to listen to their early 70s LPs became big fans of their music and Beaker Street plays this every other month. Even Bob Lefsetz made a comment that Blowin Free is a must download track. Hell with that Bob, just download the whole Argus album. What to confuse a classic rock station? Request for some Ash. ;)

9. Caroline-Jefferson Starship 1974 Well Jefferson Airplane was history when Paul Kantner decided to rename it Jefferson Starship and try for a more spaced out rock but yet with an eye on the top forty charts to which they would score big with Miracles. Surprise was that Marty Balin returned to the band and cowrote this little boogie number with Kantner, a rare cowrite together. This got played on some of the more underground FM stations at the time. Wheras The Airplane was more folkish with Balin, with the Starship they were more mainstream rock and roll with a corporate edge although not to be confused with We Built This City to which by then Balin and Kantner were out of the picture. GD you Mickey Thomas. Later Balin and Kantner would do a project known as KBC Band with Jack Cassidy back on bass but nobody cared much to buy that album either.

10. Ripples-Genesis 1976 To conclude our classic rock edition of the Top Ten, we pick an obscure track from Trick Of A Tail and one of the highlights of the Genesis Platinum Collection, that mammoth 3 CD box set that I got for 12 bucks at FYE last month and finally getting around to hear the whole thing. I think they were still doing the progressive rock thing but with Peter Gabriel out of the way, it was still Steve Hackett with Phil, Tony and Mike moving on. Hackett would leave after the next album. But Trick Of The Tail actually sold a lot more albums than anything that Gabriel did (although I never did hear any Genesis music in the mid 70s prior to Follow You, Follow Me). Ripples seems to be a bit more accessible but it's still prog rock and still doesn't show much in terms of the big hits that was forthcoming from Collins and company. I still find Genesis before the hits a acquired taste at best and have to be in a certain type of mood to listen to such prog rock. But in the final analysis, I think I'd rather much party with Phil Collins more than Peter Gabriel who seems to be a stuck in the mud type of fellow. Your opinion may vary.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

On The Subject Of Gretchen Wilson, Genesis, Springtime Ills

Hard to believe that about five years ago Gretchen Wilson was singing the praises of being a redneck woman and was the toast of country radio as a unemployed single mother being from Pocahontas Illinois and basically one of the gang. Country radio still plays that and Here For The Party but her record label treated her like yesterday's news and finally Wilson threw in the towel and bought out Sony Music to release I've Got Your Country Here on her very own Redneck label. Sony opting to issue Gretchen Wilson's Greatest Hits instead and you get most if not all her radio hits. I've always liked some of her stuff but most her albums seemed to border on country cliche more than country attitude although my favorite Wilson number is actually her version of a Billie Holiday number that was a bonus track on All Jacked Up.

It seems like Wilson butted heads with Sony Nashville since Redneck Woman and why they found fault in I Got Your Country Here I have no idea except the fact that maybe they wanted more fiddles and steel guitar but it actually sounds more like southern rock then pop country. In fact Wilson never rocked her assed off any more harder than she does on Got Your Country Here. Though Wilson does rock hard in the country way she still relies too much on the Nashville writer's row of Rivers Rutherford, Jeff Steele & Bob Dipario whereas she only gets two from Vicky McGehee and John Rich who produced only one song, Work Hard, Play Harder (To which they give songwriter's credit to The Robinsons of The Black Crowes since it apes part of Jealous Again). Wilson only writes on Blue Collar Turned Red, your right wing God and guns song, which isn't bad. In fact, the music drives the lyrics throughout the album. On the title track you pretty get Gretchen's song list of her favorites (which are 'repeat with me' Charlie Daniels, ZZ Top, Hank Jr, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash-but written from the mind of Jeffery Steele which I'm sure wrote the same lyrics but did a different title for Eli Young Band). Gretchen sings the praises of the American Trucker, and ready to kick the other woman ass by taking off her earrings on The Earrings Song. And bitches about the cheapening of radio on Terry McBride's Outlaws & Renegades and the Kewpie dolls that replaced her on the radio. I'm sure she can probably kick most of their asses although Miranda Lambert might win on decision and Lambert writing more original material. But Wilson isn't the country girl you would like her to think she is, but the fact that she's more of a southern rock girl with a passion for some fiddle to make it country. Now without Sony Music getting in the way, we hoping that Gretchen Wilson can continue to make music toward southern rock and roll with the country edge that she so much admires Charlie and Hank Jr for. This might be her best album to date and here's hoping that it will get the Wally World folk to go buy it for 9 bucks there. But Wally World also has Gretchen Wilson's Greatest Hits to let you know how far she came since proclaiming herself Redneck Woman number uno. I Got Your Country Here and it's southern rock y'all.

UPDATE (if this computer lets me)  Gretchen's albums are now on her own Redneck label and although they can be found at the local Wally World or Hastings, they haven't sold a fraction of her Sony Music stuff.  In 2013 she put out three albums, one a cover of rock songs (Under The Covers) which are hit and miss, one a return to Southern Rock Country (Right On Time) and an Christmas album to boot.  In 2014 she recorded a live album of all the songs from her first album Here For The Party, which is a good time to hear although the DVD tends to go off subject with an interview and live concert footage.  The Snapshot best of are from I Got Your Country Here onward and is a nice companion to the Playlist Best of, which has more songs than the brief Greatest Hits.  The Sony Budget line Country is a so so mixtape CD of her Epic years.  Country radio has basically forgotten her outside of Redneck Woman but before Miranda Lambert came into play, it was Gretchen Wilson doing her best for the girls of country music and she managed to last a lot longer than those on the charts (Elizabeth Cook, Jennifer Hanson, Sunny Sweeney come to mind) at that time.  But since she was older (she was 31 when Redneck Woman became that left field hit) the Sony Nashville bigwigs thought her expiration date would happen sooner than later due to being over 30.  Still, Wilson's no bullshit and tough as nails persona and good singing voice (I always liked her version of Barracuda) remains in demand, particularly from the FOX news and conservative crowds. But since going independent, she really doesn't get much press and hardly anybody buys her albums anymore.  And folks have moved on, judging by her Epic albums in the dollar bins as well.  Even at 42 years old, Gretchen still looks like a sex symbol and still can kick Carrie Underwood's butt in jello wrestling, although Carrie is more appealing to the Nashville mainstream.  Even though she hasn't been heard from since November 2014,  I still would not count Gretchen Wilson out, not by a long shot.  She stills puts on a good show when the time is right.  And if anything else, she earned her country music stripes with Redneck Woman alone.   And this era of Bro Country crapola, her oldie is an island among mediocre autotuned Florida Georgia Line watered down Electric Dance Country Music.