Friday, August 27, 2010

SRV 20 years after the fact.

Observations from the forefront.

20 years ago we lost Stevie Ray Vaughan in that horrific helicopter crash in East Troy. Since I was too young for Jimi Hendrix, I think SRV remained the ultimate guitar hero and since his passing, we really haven't had that guitar hero out there although Joe Bossamossa might be the closest person to being a guitar hero. I remember going to Dancers on that weekend and having my friend Melissa tell me about the tragic news. It is a shame though, Stevie just completed his first album with brother Jimmie and looking forward to promoting that record. At that time Stevie was still in tour of his In Style album to which got great reviews but I didn't care for the glossed over sound that Jim Gaines stuck on that album. In the post life, the 2 CD Live At Montreaux remains a great way to hear Stevie Ray Vaughan, especially during his first 1983 show and facing a hostile crowd who simply didn't get it. However when he return two years later, the fans had a change of heart and life was great till August 27, 1990.

Other news: Seems like Scott Wieland may have been lip syncing to his own song during a show when he fell off stage in Ohio but still managed to keep it note for note perfect. The problem with shows nowadays is that unlike in the past the mistakes make the songs better by personality whereas nowadays everything has got to be pitch perfect or ruined by auto-tuner. Don't know if this bite Scott and Stone Temple Pilots in the butt but if this is the way to be for concerts anymore, I'll just keep my 25 bucks and play the damn cd instead.

Reading about Queensryche move over from Rhino/Atco to Roadrunner/Loud N Proud doesn't seem to be much in terms of label hopping. Ever since leaving EMI for other labels haven't worked well for Geoff Tate and company. So yeah, we are hearing that story that the new label likes our music bla bla and that the next album will be epic bla bla. But I can't help but wonder if it's the beginning of the end for this band. After all, American Soldier was I thought a great album but Rhino/Atco didn't promote it all that much and I have heard horror stories of Roadrunner Records so I can't but think that this will be another two album tops at best before they move on down the road. Too bad CMC International isn't still around anymore (they were but Sanctuary Records bought them out and survived nicely for five years before folding). I'm sure I'll buy the new Queensryche when it does hit stores. That is if Best Buy has it in stock.

Being on a major label doesn't do much for anybody. Just ask Fifi Dobson whose second album has been delayed about a 100 times from Island Def Jam. And Teddy Thompson's fourth album for Verve is delayed till February 2011. Hard to get behind the music when the major label keeps stalling and keeps any momentum from building.

And finally, I guess I stuck a nerve with a anonymous reader on the subject of Noel Gallagher and Oasis when I gave the consensus of what the majority of people think of the mighty Noel. Again great songwriter but a bit of an pompous ass. So I read this response up till the word Moron came up and then decided that this guy either didn't get it or didn't read the whole thing. Nevertheless it was decided that this guy's opinion didn't count and I took his comments out with the trash. When I do the top ten I add the ten songs from my player and if I didn't like the songs they wouldn't be on the top ten. But then again you can't reason with somebody trying to shock value and name calling. That might get you far and noticed on Pitchfork or Spin or even Classic Rock at About dot com but not here. We'll defend your right to say things and that makes America great. You can say it but we can also reserve the right to disallow it. Maybe this dude is trying to get into Noel's good graces too but I'm certain that Noel Gallagher wouldn't give him the time of day, even if this dude offered to buy him a pint or three at the local pub. As for the fact of Noel Gallagher himself reading this........I'm sure he has better things to do, like trying to hobnob with Robert Plant and getting put in his place too. I'm sure he's not scouring the internet reading each and every thing about him.

But if it was Noel himself reading this, fuck I'll buy him a pint or two at the local pub.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week

1. Holiday-Nazareth 1980 In this day and age this band would have never recorded so many albums as they did for A & M but then again Jerry and Herb had more open minds than whoever is running the store at Universal. A change in pace, Jeff Baxter produced this and Zal Cleminson from The Sensational Alex Harvey Band became the new guitar player replacing Manny Charlton. This did some airplay on KRNA back in 1980 as Nazareth tried to change their sound a bit. Didn't work well for album sales but reviews were actually pretty good.

2. Little Darlin-Natural Gas 1976 Interesting group led by Joey Mallond from Badfinger and Jerry Shirley from Humble Pie on drums but they also had Peter Wood and Mark Clarke and got Felix Pappalardi to produce this. Album sunk without a trace, in fact I found my copy for a dollar at Woolworth's. Basically the promotion at Private Stock was non existent. However this did get reissued on CD not too long ago. A cult classic.

3. I'm A Happy Man-The Jive Five Featuring Eugene Pitt 1965 Best known for their hit My True Story, this doowop band moved over to United Artists and tried to update with their type of soul music and this was their highest charting single. Eugene Pitt has one of the more distinct falsettos in music if you ever hear come across hearing him. Back in the CD era of 1992, EMI reissued all of their UA recordings into one nifty CD of 21 songs of soul and doowop. Commands big bucks on EBAY but got mine for half priced at Craig's Real Records in IC.

4. Fell In Love With A Girl-The White Stripes 2002 We spend so much time on the net that it's hard to believe it's been 8 years since this came out and hit the top ten. Came from their third album and finally the hype that SPIN and Rolling Stone gave Jack and Meg White paid off. The best of the garage rock movement although Meg White seems to be more content with the married life and Jack White is bashing away on drums for The Dead Weather.

5. World Of Pain-Cream 1967 Take away the 20 minute Toad and the 16 minute Sweet Wine and you got some decent 3 minute songs from EC, Jack Bruce (when he could sing) and Ginger Baker. Somewhere out there there's a 25 minute version of World Of Pain that the world is ready to discover (complete with drum solo).

6. Lyla-Oasis 2005 Yes Noel Gallagher can be an asshole but he can on occasion can write a nice little number and a great album. I just about gave up on Oasis after their ho hum Heathen Chemistry but with Don't Believe The Truth they came up with their best album since What's The Story Morning Glory. They rocked harder thanks to Zak Starkey playing drums too before he up and left to join The Who. But seems like The Gallagher Brothers put him to better use than Pete and Roger ever did. Oh BTW, to Anonymous who didn't bother to read the rest of the post, I do like Noel Gallagher's songs and consider Morning Glory and The Masterplan to be the classic Oasis albums with Don't Believe The Truth a close third. Name calling doesn't get you noticed here on the Crabb Top Ten that's why we have censors here. But thanks for reading anyway. BTW Lyla is a great song, glad you noticed.

7. Live It Up-Ted Nugent 1977 Being a RWNJ has made Nugent just about unlikeable but when I see the need to hear Terrible Ted, I'll play something that has Derek St Holmes singing and keeping the politics of the Nuge to a bare minimum. But I'm sure Ted has aspirations of having his own show on FOX news in the future. As Frank Zappa put it, "shut up and play your guitar".

8. Talk Talk-Talk Talk 1982 It came from the 80's and probably should stay there. This is my favorite song from Mark Hollis and company although it only reached the middle of the top 100.

9. Dear Mom-Joe Jackson 2000 Night And Day was the surprise hit of 1982 but the followup done 18 years later was more darker and not top forty friendly. It's more of a concept album than Night And Dry but latter day Joe Jackson, seems to like more strings and more opera singers than the average rocker would like. And more forgettable too.

10. Answering Machine-The Replacements 1984 If 1985 sucked to high heaven thanks to crap like Broken Wings or Take On Me or We Built This City, the year before gave us some nice independent music from the garage and Minneapolis was the place to be. Two bands of note came out of there, Husker Du and their noise to go guitar of Bob Mould and original drummer screamer Grant Hart (to which Dave Grohl owes more than he knows) and the other the drunken Replacements with Paul Westerburg writing them out. The Huskers gave us New Day Rising, and The Replacements gave us Let It Be, the which nowadays more people remember the latter than the former. My favorite track remains the finale to which Paul Westerburg is trying to talk sense into a phone answering machine which seems to be melting down towards the end of song. For fun and games seek out the Let It Be expanded edition to which Paul and company cover the Defranco Family's Heartbeat It's a Love Beat. Has to be heard to be believed.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Arizona Farewell Vacation A Primer

A week away from returning to the desert I have been plotting about my destinations. Unlike the 10 days, I only have six days to visit and catch up in old haunts or old friends if they want to get together. But the line of thought is that I'll be in Mesa from Saturday thru Monday before getting into the car and driving up to the north country on Tuesday-Thursday. The logical thought is to Flagstaff then on old Route 66 to Kingman. Then spend a day in Lake Havasau City before going back down to Phoenix and taking a day to go to Tucson.

In all fairness this will be the last big bargain hunt to the desert. Basically the fact is that the CD age is over and most of the music stores that I used to go to are now history. Not a good sign for the bargain hunter looking for the real thing. The 10 Days of AZ I don't think I spent much time in Phoenix itself except to go to Jade Express in Metrocenter to get some chicken fried rice, the best that I have ever had. I spent most of it in my old stomping grounds in Mesa/Chandler. I don't think there's much in terms of hard to find cds that I haven't gotten yet but every trip has proven to find some interesting finds and I'm sure this will not be any exception. The bargains found came from FYE around Fiesta Mall or the Chandler Zia's from last year and I'm sure I'll visit the FYE stores that are still in business out there. I do know if I still lived in Chandler, that my second home would be that FYE near Fiesta Mall.

There's not much for tunes up in the north country of Arizona outside of Hastings. I know there are five in selected cities and I know if I lived in Kingman that Hastings would be my hang out. I wouldn't be the only one. Last couple times I was up there I met the same freaky family. When you come across that you know they're more hardcore than I am. But there's not much otherwise for music in Kingman, no Best Buy although I noticed that they do have more big box stores out there in the strip malls. Kingman has come a long way from just being a railroad town and tourist trap for the old Route 66. I'd love to retire there someday and spend countless days getting sunburned and watching trains among the way. Somehow I get funny looks when I talk about Kingman but it still has that old Route 66 aura around it to make it a place for me to hang my hat once a year.

This trip was a spur of the moment thing. After getting my plane tickets to see my girlfriend in Michigan I looked up Allegiant Airlanes and they had 99 dollar airfares one way and back on sale and so I jumped at the chance, just like last year when they were only 29 bucks one way. Therefore it sounded like a good idea so I did it. For the past 20 years I managed to go to Arizona and find a lotta classic cds that I wouldn't find up here and the last decade I had an all out to find them. But this year it will be the last time that I go out there to find the ultimate cd or vinyl album. This is actually a farewell to the music stores that I used to hang when I lived out there or the places that used to be here that are still out there I can go in one last time to see what they have. We used to have a Hastings in Ames but not anymore. Hastings sucks but they do have bargains in the dollar bins. It's different now then 10 years ago, more cd space than DVDs but nowadays DVD's are the norm.

Time has a funny way of sneaking up on you then passing you by. And I'm no different than anybody else. I'm sure there will be another arizona trip in the future but I'm also certain that I will not be invading the music stores although my GF will know we must stop at the FYE at Longmore in Tempe/Mesa and the Chandler Zia's. It's been a good run but if anything else, this trip will be one more chance of living in the desert and playing in the 100 degree heat, then going up to Flagstaff and turning the heater on in the car. I probably will not have a computer with me but I can live without it a while. If I do come across a computer I'll make the usual notes like I did last year.

Till then, gotta a week to pack and prepare.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-Hi Speed Hi Jinx

Well kiddies, looks we have joined the fast hi speed net life. Computer is still running a bit slow but I think that had to do with MSN outdated programming or maybe it's Norton's security putt putting. I still had net access at work but went net free the whole weekend and imagine that, got rewarded with Real Records in Iowa City 50 percent off used CDs. Guess I know when the right time to go although the college kids are coming back and clogging up the I C streets.

The top ten of the week.

1. No Spitting On The Bus-Steve Gibbons Band 1979 The CD age hasn't been too kind to the English version of Bob Seger but back in the day of vinyl, Gibbons was the cult artist. Great songwriter, sang a bit like Bob Dylan but with more tune, he made three damn good albums for MCA and two for Polydor, the first Down In The Bunker is his acknowledged best. This was a minor hit but Gibbon's sense of humor was so over the top the buying American public didn't get him. Had a great band backing him up, that had Trevor Bolden from Bowie's Spiders From Mars band. Later Robbie Blunt came on board, he's mostly known for being the flagship member of Robert Plant's early 80s album.

2. Comin Down-Angel City 1978 The thinking man's AC/DC, the Brewster brothers were the guitar answer to the Youngs and Doc Neeson was one of those writers that could write up a good song but for some reason The Angels never became more than a cult following in the US. Such a shame really, this came from the Albert Productions album of Face To Face to which Epic would stick out a couple years later, cleaned up the sound and cherry picked songs from The Angels three Aussie albums. Rumour had it that Neeson was in the running to replace Bon Scott but his songwriting was too gothic to the broads and booze lyrics of the Youngs and Bon Scott. The Angels hung around on Epic for three albums before moving on to MCA to make their classic Two Minute Warning and then disappeared for four years before putting out Beyond Salvation on Chrysalis to which the US label demanded that they re record some of their old 70's stuff. Still sounds good to these ears but Liberation Blue reissued all of the Angels albums and Beyond Salvation is in original format. Not to be confused with some power pop diva named Angel City, whose power pop disco cds are import only. Buyer beware.

3. Ordinary-The Alternative Routes 2007 Great name for a alt rock band don't ya think but these guys came from a MTV reality show I think. I gather this was the hit but it sounds a bit like the Gin Blossoms which is good but the lead singer decides to sing falsetto at the end of the song which is bad. The CD was a freebe anyway.

4. Trailer Mama-The Bottlerockets 1993 Hard to believe these guys have been around this long. Brian Hennemann was a roadie for Uncle Tupelo and played guitar on thier last tour and the Jeff Tweedy does help out on vocals before he went high and mighty and formed Wilco. But I still perfer the rowdy rock of the Bottlerockets more then the experimental Wilco or the stuck in the mud Son Volt. Some of us trailer trash rednecks love that three chord rock and roll more.

5. Sounds In Space-Ken Nordine 1958 A weird 45 that I got years ago, it touted about stereophonic sound. More or less a demonstration of RCA's Living Stereo series, which was basically either big band or classical music. Back then, it was the importance of recording stereo just right that was the rule and not exception as it is today with overrecorded cds. Highlights include a Skitch Henderson excerpt that might be worth looking for and Franz Reiner doing Prokofieff's Lieutenant Kije Opus 60 bla bla and how could we forget Ralph Flanagan's Ragg Mopp? Later issued as a grab bag LP called Sounds In Space. Of course back in the mid 80s, when cds were the up and coming, the labels would put together choice cuts from albums to promote the cd. Seen a few at the pawnshop the other day. Most were haphazard at best.

6. All My Life-Legendary Grape 1989 Moby Grape actually. You know them from the 60s as hyped to the hilt, got signed to Columbia who released 5 singles at the same time and basically killed all hope of getting airplay. And then they got signed to the bitchfuck Matthew Katz, who made a shambles out of their recording career and continues to do so this day after he got Sundazed to pull the first two Moby Grape albums off the shelf. But Moby Grape kept reforming from time to time and in 1989 released something on cassette called the Melvilles and this was one of the tracks off that tape and it's the best song off that. Later a UK label reissued this and a few more tracks and renamed it Legendary Grape.

7. As You Go Down-Black Velvet Band 1989 Led by Kiernan Kennedy, these guys put two albums out on Elektra in the late 80's and I spent all day looking for the vinyl album and didn't find it all day so I went out and did something else. Later in the evening when I was typing something up on the computer I look straight at it. Case of having too much I guess. Anyway thought that the pawnshop had the second album on cd and it's been there for months so thought it was going to be there. It wasn't.

8. Your Saving Grace-Steve Miller Band 1969 More than just The Joker or Fly Like An Eagle, Steve Miller had some FM hits although most of the albums that I did have from them in the early years were kinda spotty. In fact, his version of Key To The Highway makes The Melvins sound punk fast and that's saying something. This was written and sung by the drummer Tim Davis.

9. Draw The Line-Aerosmith 1977 Dedicated to Steven Tyler who once again fell off the stage during a live performance the other day. Dude just can't stay on the stage it seems.

10. Summer (the first time)-Bobby Goldsboro 1974 Great guitar player and credible songwriter although his biggest hit was written by Bobby Russell of Saturday Morning Confusion. Honey is either a classic or odious and if you like that you'll enjoy Watching Scotty Grow. But Bobby had some cool stuff out there (little things, it's too late) and this was his final top forty hit which I think came out around the time Summer Of 42 was in theaters. Goldsboro considers this his best song to the point that he told the record label to keep it at 4:39 instead of a two minute edit. And got a hit in the process.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-Binged Again

Well, let's see how far we go on this list.

I've been having major problems and issues this weekend due to power outages and good old MSN fucking up. Hell, even while trying to compile this blog, GD MSN would go blank or Bing'd me. Which is when your trying to read a website and GD MSN would take you to that worthless search engine called Bing, so you can try to access the Blogger post and get Bing'd again. I do not like Bing, MSN's answer to Google. You can't beat the original and as long as I live, I'll take my chances on Google than on Bing. FU Bing, you suck.

This week's songs of note.

1. Every Picture Tells A Story-Rod Stewart 1971 Heard Rod The Mod is going to be a dad again at age 65 as he brings in child number 7 to the Stewart clan. And of course a good time to announce another addition to that Great American Songbook that he's been doing with Clive Davis the last decade. Dude really hasn't come up with anything worth noting since Unplugged with Ronnie Wood. But you really want to hear Rod greatness, pull out this album with said song. He was unplugged long before unplugged was cool.

2. A Hit By Varese-Chicago 1971 Same year as Rod the Mod, this is an interesting Chicago tune. Sounds a bit progressive don't ya think? Back in the day, Chicago would do these interesting jazz excursions or guitar freak outs between the hits (the big hit off here was Saturday In The Park) but there's not bullshit cheese keyboards on these tracks. Plenty of horns and plenty of Peter Cetera singing Robert Lamm's lyrics. BTW, I noticed that Wally World has had some Chicago reissues in the five dollar section, of course V. Found the vinyl new for 2 bucks at Target in the bargain bin section about 20 years ago.

3. Maybe For You-Jefferson Starship 2007 A leftover from the Multiply top ten of last week, this is the best track off some piece of crap called Jefferson's Tree Of Liberty that Paul Kantner released and it has David Friedburg from the old band on it too. However this track was a outtake from a Jefferson Starship album of 1999 and it features Marty Balin on vocal and Jack Casady on bass with T. Lavitz from The Dixie Dregs playing piano. Too bad Kantner couldn't go with more Balin songs than the outdated 60s protest folk rock that would have benefited greatly had Grace Slick or even Siege Anderson sang on this. Darby Gould is no Grace Slick. Neither is Cathy Richardson either.

4. I'm Not My Brother's Keeper-Flaming Ember 1970 Followup to Westbound #9 this track got major airplay on KCRG AM around September of 1970. EMI quietly reissued five tracks from this band plus five more from The Glass House and I do believe this is the long version of this track.

5. Bird Dog-The Everly Brothers 1958 I think if you had cool parents that grew up listening to rock and roll that they would have The Everly's 15 Greatest Hits in their collection and thankfully my folks did this album. Perfect harmonies that still stand up 50 plus years later. And they didn't need no autotuner either Justin Bieber are you listening?

6. Burn It Down-Los Lobos 2010 Featuring help from Susan Tedeschi aka Mrs. Derek Trucks. The new Los Lobos album called Tin Can Trust might be their best in years and that's saying something since most anything Los Lobos releases to the world is at least worth a listen. Their first for Shout Factory after being on assorted Walt Disney labels the last 10 years.

7. Tempo Tantrum-The Woggles 2009 Surf guitar freak out done the aughts style. This band is on Little Steven's Wicked Cool label and if you buy the vinyl album of this release you get a bonus CD of the same songs plus bonus cuts. If only the major labels would do things that way. I mean if you going to spend 25 damn dollars on Neil Young reissues to which back in my day you can get for 7, 8 bucks at least throw the damn CD in for bonus value. Warner has reissued Eric Clapton's Journeyman as a 2 record set for 30 bucks and i can assure you, there's no bonus cd thrown in nor free MP3. Take note of that .

8. Wine And Women-The Bee Gees 1964 From an out of print album on Pickwick and a white promo copy to boot. Basically it's from a collection of Australia recordings before they got rich and famous and yes there are cheap cds of the 64 Australia Recordings out there. The folks at Pickwick chose to do that fake stereo mastering which means it sounds like crap. In other words, electronically channeled for stereo, means mono recording in one speaker, echo in the other to give it that stereo sound. Because sound matters.

9. Jacob's Ladder-Rush 1980 From Permanent Waves, their breakthrough album. Back then I wasn't much of a Rush fan but have learn to like their music although I'm not a fanatic of them like my best friend is.

10. You Know My Name (look up the number)-The Beatles 1970 B side to Let It Be and this might be my favorite of all Beatles song simply of the fact that its weird. Anthology 2, had a longer version of this song (the original can be found on Past Masters) and I can see why they took out a part of the song since it didn't fit very well, but I could have used the second repeat of the first verse. Goes into a odd salsa beat then get weirder after that before a goofy scat jazz ending. Classic rock radio wouldn't touch this with a ten foot pole but Crabb Radio would and R. Smith's Top Ten Of The Week. Why?

Because sound matters!

RIP Richie Hayward, drummer for Little Feat who lost his battle with liver cancer at age 64. One of the best underrated drummers ever. He will be missed.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Observations From The Forefront-Binged, Dubuque

The summer from hell continues. Baked in the daytime, fucking monsoons at night. Been this way since June. At least last year we only had 2 90 degree days and 10 Monsoon nights. This year I think we have 20 90 degree days and 40 monsoon nights. If I wanted this shitty weather I would have moved to the fucking tropics.

For those who have the misfortune of MSN, I couldn't do no postings anywhere due to network problems, which was still there after I got home from Dubuque. It's pretty bad when you pay 20 bucks just for a slow dialup and you can't do twitter or Facebook due MSN problems. Or being Binged, which is when MSN decides to promote their shitty search engine when your trying to see whose following you on Twitter or you get the damned MSN can't open the site messages, or they switched you to the worthless Bing, which didn't work at all last night. I finally had to deal with some dude from India which I couldn't translate what he was saying and vice versa but the dude did managed to walk me through the steps before being disconnected on the phone. I think the Taliban had something to do with that but finally I managed to get online and managed to surf the web till we got yet another monsoon storm at midnight, turning our driveway into Lake Crabb once again. And of course the weather forecast calls for more of the same this week, hot and steamy in the daytime and then at night getting heavy rains and thunderstorms. I'm sick of this weather. Can't wait for fall to which we will get some decent weather for about a week before the blizzards hit in October. And then I can bitch about the snows instead of the floods.

For Sunday, Moondog Music remains open till 9 which is a rarity and if I would have known that I would have gone to Borders first then Moondog. But CD's For Change isn't open on Sunday. But Goodwill up there is open till 8 but then again they seldom have much for music. The Northern Goodwill Stores in that area are open later unlike the Eastern Iowa Goodwill but they never have much and besides I had to deal with a couple of beaners who planned going to the bathroom at the same time as me. Or the goofball at Target who better thank his lucky stars that I didn't get Montezuma's Revenge that day. However, I did managed to find a decent Mexican place in downtown Dubuque called Salsa's and may have come across the best Pollo En Mole ever made.

I'm trying to lose some weight and walking in 90 degree weather with a blazing sun can do that but then again what I lost for weight was gained back with a generous amount of Chicken Mole. But I did a big walk down to the Mississippi and back, I think it was a 6 mile walk. But in the process got stuck hearing some Jimmy Buffet wannabe who did the lamest version of John Mellencamp I ever heard and picked up the speed back to the car just to avoid anymore of that. At least the dude is playing live but playing lame too.

This month for the first time in 41 years Robert Christgau didn't do Consumer Guide Report and the reason was that MSN decided to pull the plug on that column. Which is a shame for the fact is that everything I knew about music came from reviews from Christgau when Creem Magazine was running it and that was back in the late 70s. It was the Consumer Guide that I would read from The Village Voice after Creem went bellyup and continue to follow when Village Voice discontinued it and MSN picked it up for 3 and half years. Times have changed and the MSN format sucked most of the time as they did a one album at a time showing. Later years Robert reviewed more world music and rap acts and pop stars that didn't mean a thing for me so CG became a glanceover. It took me a month later to realize that the CG was over. I'd say about 68 percent of the time Christgau may have been right in the reviews, and some of the reviews he tended to talk down upon us or use words that I'd never use for reviews but in the meantime if I want to look up an album, I'd consult the Christgau's Consumer Guide books that I brought or I'd look it online at his site. The times are changing and even though he was still around, I think the general public with their short attention spans moved on. The Consumer Guide will be missed but like everything associated with music the last ten years (Tower Records, Warehouse Music, music stores around here) and things that killed it (The internet, Telecomm Act of 1996, MTV's shitty reality garbage) is now part of the past. RIP CG.

Due to the weather last night, the R.Smith Show had to be postponed due to servere storms in the area. Sorry folks but Mother Nature's been a bitch all summer. Saturday night, we have a power outage that knocked my computer out for 45 minutes and by the time I got back to the Saturday Night Chat, everybody took off. Guess I didn't miss much.

Finally looks like Robert Plant is tired of the heaviness that was once Led Zeppelin which explains why he has been lukewarm to any reunion talk. Perhaps it's time to finally retire Led Zeppelin, now that Plant has revived The Band Of Joy, Jason Bonham hanging with supergroup Black Country Communion (with hot shot guitarist Joe Bossamussa, Glenn Hughes and Derek Shulman) and John Paul Jones hanging with Those Crooked Vultures (Josh Homme and Dave Grohl who I might add, did a funny apperance on a Saturday Night Live repeat that I didn't see the first time). The 70s are now three decades behind and as much as we would like to, can't go back to those times. This generation needs to find thieir own heroes although with portible cell phones and Blackberries and very crappy new music (Katy Perry or Justin Bieber?) and a clueless major label mentality that won't be happening anytime soon. Good for Arcade Fire or Hold Steady but I just can't get into their music. And with everything digipacks, I'm getting less and less interested.

And so it goes. Been a slow month, especially when all i get in the comment sections is annoymous fools touting Viagra or Male Enhancement Drugs. That's why I scan them before approving anything. The Thoughts of R Smith isn't a billboard for limp dick syndrome. Too much Viagra will make you go blind ya kno?

Thursday, August 5, 2010


When you wanna get away...

The Quad Cities...sounded like a good idea. Tired of fighting the crappy printers and cutters I threw in the towel, called in saying I wasn't coming in and then head down the road. Clear my head.

Had to stop in Lowden to visit Ben Shear's grave. Hard to believe that he's been gone for almost three years. I remembered him as that shy kid who wanted to dance with some little girl at Russ and Karla's wedding. Surprised that Ben and Matthew turned out to be good kids despite their overbearing mom. I never did like Karla all that much and even less after the divorce. The hag continued to take Russ back to court for the slightest things. The last one got thrown out of court, Debbie says she'd like to sue Karla back for harrassment. Once a year I do drive out to Lowden to pay a visit to Ben's grave. He was a good kid, went out to arizona to work in a mine and ended up losing his life in a freak accident. He was only 21.

The Quad Cities: where the hell did all this fucking road construction come from? Had to do a double detour in getting to FYE, and then over to Co Op Records. I tend to think that Co Op tends to pad the prices on the budget stuff. I don't go in there all that much but I do today and found a Pink Floyd I didn't have.

Did a little walk on the riverwalk trail from Bettendorf to Davenport and back to the car. It's a five mile walk both ways. But I needed the time to walk and think about things, about what life after retiring from bargain hunting. And trying not to lose my mind over life. And things I shouldn't be worrying over. And perhaps thinking I spend too much time on the net, too much time at work playing a meaningless video game that I get obsessed over. And printers that suck.

Martin Daniels keeps telling me that not only I'm digging my own grave but also throwing dirt over myself in the process. Steve Murphy, the day senior says regardless on how much work you do or when the printers and cutters break down you still get paid the same per hour per day. It don't matter; just do the best you can with what you got. They can't yell at you when you working but they will if they catch you playing too many video games.

The obsession, that what got to me back in 82, when I blew my paycheck on video games at Lindale and had nothing to show for. With the net, the obsession is over having top score and then trying to keep it. Martin said what difference does it make? You get top score for a while and then it's back to start, you can't keep it forever. I suppose he's gotta point.

It seems that I do take it personal when life throws shit my way but I'm not the only one. When we get flooding rains, everybody in that part of the state gets it too. Some get it worse than others, think it's bad, what about the people that lost their homes as they crashed into Lake Delhi when the dam failed. Or those who lost everything in the flood of 2008. Water in the basement is no big deal. My best friend had a fire in his house 2 years ago. Things can be worse.

Much worse.

Martin is not the only one that tells me that I am my own worst enemy and I know that. He also said that for the last four years I've been so damn uptight that nobody wants to hang with me. There are things in life you cannot control, you can't control the summer heat and floods or winter snows or ice, you can't control high gas prices, you have to adjust and do what you can. Everybody is suffering. You can't control the fools in Washington or what Rush Dumbass or Sean Hannity feeds to the world. They're going to do their own thing and people are going to heed their call. You can't control cable tv and the crap reality shows, all you can do is shut the tv off. If the bills are paid on time, if you can afford to eat out, if you can still come and go then you're doing a lot better than most folk. Problem is your more killing yourself than the world is to you. You have a girlfriend that loves you for who you are, which is more than the last few that you tried to settle down with. Is it so much to get the last word in, when there's a disagreement? Eventually, the last word that you don't want to hear is goodbye. And nobody wants to hear that....

Point taken. So after coming back to the car, I ended up going to Big Lots and do some grocery shopping and stock up on some cheap soup, then went to Los Acadea (I misspelled the last name, it's on the corner of Brady/Kimberly) and had a burrito/enchinada dinner, it was okay but the salsa was excellent. And then stopped at the World's Largest Truck Stop and hung out there for a while and got a choclate malt and took the long way home.

But it also reminded me that I have a long way to go before I come to terms with myself. Wether or not I will be a success remains to be seen.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Top Ten Of The Week-Follow The Bouncing Ball

As we continue to get baked by the sun by day and drowned at night by monsoons and yet another stalled stationary front I cannot wait for summer to end. Never seen such a GD outfit to which the weather pattern has been this way three straight months. I don't think I've ever said it in my lifetime that I am sick of summer. All you folks out in the east and Russia that have been baked to a crisp. Too bad we can't truck this surplus of wetness to where your at.

Lindsay Lohan, the me-girl, we know she wouldn't serve all her jail time. Another love tap on the wrist, don't do that again otherwise we'll take the car away. Paris Hilton makes another album that nobody wants, thinks she's going to be Kylie Minogue. Your first record didn't sell and I'm surprised Tom Whalley didn't get fired for that fiasco. Your new record will sell less. Just like Lindsay Lohan's Casablanca albums that you see in the buck bins. She should call her next album Confessions of a Former Child Star Prima Donna Drunk.

Mitch Miller passed away on Sunday at age 99. Keep the smartypants comments of "I thought he was dead" to yourselves, he had been around enjoying himself. The guy may have hated rock and roll but back in the 50's even he knew that this wasn't going go away. He may have dreamed about Top Forty Y2K and the rap and the auto-tune crap. Mitch Miller may have been the best Oboe player ever, he even played on the War Of The Worlds broadcast and even Charlie Parker. He may have failed in producing Frank Sinatra but he did strike gold with Rosemary Cooney and Guy Mitchell and did sign Aretha Franklin. He might be known as an pioneer for Karaoke when he had those Sing Along With Mitch TV show in the early 60s. I think growing up I think I was scared of him due to that weird goatee. To me, Mitch Miller was famous for that Columbia Echo that you can hear on Chances Are from Johnny Mathis and many other songs. You may not like Mitch Miller but you gotta admire that sound created. You can also find many of Mitch Miller & The Gang albums at your local Goodwill, Salvation Army or St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Stores in your neighborhood.

Now, let's see what was on the player this week.

1. Life-Sly & The Family Stone 1968 Long ago and far away Slyvester Stewart was a excellent producer who decided to form his own band of rock and soul and R and B and he drafted both white and black folk in his band. Funky bass and bass vocal of Larry Graham, Greg Errico drumming, Freddie and Rose. Great underrated band. This was a minor hit but you can tell which each recording they were getting bigger and better. I think they hit their peak with Stand! and side one of that album. Can't get into There's A Riot Going On.

2. Barrel Chested-Slobberbone 1997 One of many bands under the influence of Uncle Tupelo, the title track from this album remains their drunken best. Originally on Doolittle Records, later on New West, their next album took a more Wilco approach and wasn't that great. Slobberbone broke up around 2005 and the lead singer went to from The Drams who made a long but good cd in 2007.

3. Hold Me Tight-10 Years After 1972 An outtake that would make it later on the compilation Alvin Lee And Company and I remember this being played on the radio. Alvin Lee wasn't much on songwriting but he employs a 50's style piano stomp to which I'm surprised didn't make it on any best of. Anyway this album is better known, or infamously known as the 14 minute throwaway Boogie On, which is longer than Side 1 of Alvin Lee & Company.

4. Full Moon Fire-Walter Egan 1983 Surprised this wasn't a bigger hit than it should have been, Walter better known for Magnet And Steel, a top ten hit in 1978 and featuring help from Fleetwood Mac. This time out the Mac still helps but more sparingly but this does have lead guitar from one David Lindley, the dude that plays slide on Running On Empty.

5. Shave Em Dry-Lucille Bogan 1935 Lady Gaga will never be this bawdy even if she continues to put out soft porn masquerading as music videos. Madonna too. Part 1 was the PG version but part 2 is the one that can you banned from radio. Bogan was a tough blues singer in the style of Ma Rainey but Rainey never sang anything about making a man come. In blues term shaving them dry is shaving without shaving cream. For that rough look.

6. Larks Tongue In Aspic Part 2-King Crimson 1973 To which Robert Fripp put together the most long lived lineup prior to Adrian Belew and Tony Levin, the 1973 Crimson featured John Wetton, Bill Bruford, David Cross and some weirdo named Jamie Muir whose assorted percussion and sound effects made this album for what it was. Not one of my favorite Crimson albums, but it would progress onward toward their most violet and best record Red. And yes I do like Red more than I do In The Court Of The Crimson King. Your taste may vary.

7. Georgia Blues-Larry Youngblood 1969 Basically a footnote and track off the Martin Scorace Jimi Hendrix Blues album when Scorace was putting together that mini series The Blues. Credited to Jimi Hendrix, Youngblood recently sued everybody involved for back royalties and mad that he didn't get full credit for this tune, which isn't all that great. Kinda like Jake Holmes suing Led Zeppelin for Dazed And Confused but at least Larry didn't wait till 40 years after the fact but isn't there a statue of limitations after 7 years?

8. This Time-Waylon Jennings 1974 Waylon was in the middle of a very hot streak in the mid 70's and this track raced to the top of the country charts. Co produced with Willie Nelson, it was very stark and dark and not as spit shined up as the other RCA acts of that time.

9. Honey Hush-Roomful Of Blues 1979 Next to the Fabulous Thunderbirds, these guys had a deep love of the blues of the 50's, owning a not to Joe Turner and T-Bone Walker, but unlike the Fab Birds, didn't sell out and got famous. Produced by the late great Joel Dorn and the late great Doc Pomus this has been bounced around in the reissue file, first at Rounder, then 32 Records when Dorn was still alive and now I think back to Rounder again. Preston Hubbard would later join the Fab Birds on Tuff Enuff and Duke Robillard would join them on Walk That Walk, Talk That Talk.

10. Rust Belt Town-The Randy Cliffs 2003 And finally something found in the dollar bins up in Madison last week. I did include this on the first draft of last week's top ten but due to a computer failure lost that part of the blog so here goes again. The Randy Cliffs as far as I know came from Delevan Wisconsin and scored a couple recording sessions up at Smart Studios (home of Nevermind) and another studio in Madison and made a album that recalls good Uncle Tueplo, Slobberbone and NY Dolls. With a title like Trixie's Trailer Sales, I figure this would be a good listen to and it was that I had to listen to it all over again after hearing it. It does sound like they had a few PBRs. Nothing like good old booze induced rock and roll to get ya going. By the time I discovered this album The Randy Cliffs have already called it a day and did a reunion back in 2008 and now have gone back to the trailer court, to spend countless hours spinning pink flamingos and watching Judge shows. But this is the point of why I go out collecting and why I go buy dollar cds of unknown bands-that I might come across a band that I missed out the first place. This is good old fashioned rowdy rock, no pro tools needed and most of all no Auto-tuners! Cheers to a obscure but I think very damn good bar band.

Monday, August 2, 2010

On the subject of Ted Nugent

Fuck Ted Nugent.

A long time ago, I used to be a fan of Ted Nugent. His 1975 album remains one of the best hard rock albums of the 70s, still was, still is. The lineup that he had for Derek St Holmes, Rob Grange and the late Cliff Davies was top notch. Even when St Holmes and Grange left, he did managed to find a good vocalist in Charlie Huhn. But ever since leaving Epic and shedding Cliff Davies, Nugent albums have gotten less memorable. But lately, Nugent has been so extreme right wing that I find him to be more annoying than anything.

The nadir was Nugent's rant in the Washington Times, once again bashing Obama and the government for being marxist and blaming everybody who voted for him the problems of today. Nevermind the fact that the best the Republicans could do was the senile old coot and a clueless ditz and nobody wanted them. The link is as follows.

I'm not a big fan of Obama, I still think he's trying to do the best he can although what I have seen the last couple weeks I'm beginning to think otherwise. But I think Nugent is missing the point that the clueless, the ignorant and disconneted Americans voted Obama in, you can say that for the clueless, the ignorant and disconnected fools who voted Bush Jr twice. Stay the course they said. What Ted Nugent doesn't realize that the American public voted for Obama, who were tired of the GOP me first, screw everybody else attitude. In 2006 the American Public started voting for the Democrats after seeing six years of Repubicants looking out for their best intersts, for Wall Street, for Goldman Sachs, for Big Oil. Ten years later, the American Public is finding out that going back over to the left hasn't provided much change. Whoever we vote in, they are not looking for our best interests. Great Ted Nugent, we don't like Nancy Pelosi or Charley Rangel, but I don't care for the Bitch McConnell's, the Steve Kings that scream fear and Socialism and question Obama's being born in the US. Or the Charles Grassleys that have continue to get relected term after term after term and continue to get the kickbacks from lobbyists and Big Drug Companies. If you going vote the do nothing Democrats out, then vote the Republicants out too. Joe McCartney would be a icon god if he was still alive today.

This is coming from the mind of somebody whose last album was Love Grenade and showcased a picture of a tied up girl and who sings the praises of Girl Scout Cookies. I always commended Nugent for staying the straight and narrow and didn't do drugs or booze when he was keeping The Amboy Dukes going. But I also think that having his amps turned up to 12 may have melted part of his thinking process away and instead of keeping up with rock and roll, turned right at FOX News and never strayed away. If Ted Nugent has a good plan to win an unwinnable war against the Taliban I should would love to hear it. Maybe blaring Love Grenade or Little Miss Dangerous 24/7 might subdue the Taliban. I know it would in our neighborhood.

After reading his tirade, it came to the conclusion that I really don't need any more Ted Nugent in my collection so I'm unloading them all cheap. Will we learn our lesson Tedrick come November? Chances are probably not but for who the Republicans have out there to run against the so called Marxistcrats there's not much choice. Sharron Angle? Michelle Bachmann? Maybe you can use them for cover art for your next album. Craveman and the Girl Scout Kookies would be a nice title.

There's a little thing you may have forgotten Mr. Nugent and it's called the Freedom of Vote and that's how Obama got elected. Blame the folks who didn't vote and those who do will decide the November vote. Don't trust the government you say? I didn't back in 2001.

Stick to music Ted, stick to your glory years of the 70s. Go and hunt to your heart's content. Turn it up to 12 and go deaf even more. But don't throw the fear factor right wing BS that we hear so much on FOX news or what Sean Hannrity or Rush pukes out.

It's not us, but it's you that's the problem.
(proud to be an American too)

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Hard to believe it's already August. But then again things are going full tilt too. RAGBRAI concluded yesterday in Dubuque, most of the fairs are winding down leading to the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines and the Arizona vacation afterwards. It's been a long, hot and wet summer and we still have 30 days left to see if we get anymore stalled fronts and monsoons to flood things away. The one thing I have noticed that there has been a lack of earwigs in the house. But August is famous for the butterfly excursion, to see many kinds of butterflys making their southern trip before the snows hit and they actuallys started earlier than usual. Some will make it but sadly most of them will get hit by cars and trucks in the process.

The one thing about Arizona is the SB1070 immigration bill and lot of people are in a uproar about that. Boycott Arizona is the call and even Lady Gaga is getting into the act. Anything for publicity eh Gaga GooGoo? But there is a aura of digust brewing at Obama after only a year and half and basically the bug up the ass is once again adding billions to a defecit to a fucking endless civil war that isn't going anywhere. Afganastan is a waste, Russia couldn't do anything in there and neither can we. But then again, the damn democrats decided to add more billions for another six months so we have more body bags to come home. Of course the yayhoo who wanted Obama to reinstate the draft Charley Rangel is up on ethic charges. Makes you think that you can't trust the assholes who are in congress.

And then we get Tim Pawlenty, the big fake fuck from Minnesota coming across our borders and throwing all this fear cock and bull about how the administration isn't doin their job while this idiot yayhoo wants to be president in 2012. I don't like the guy, ever since he became Governor of Minnesota I tend not to go up there. One more grandstanding CSer who brings nothing new to the table, just like Sarah Palin. Just sit there and look pretty and you might be president too. Only problem is Palin opens her mouth. We seem to live in a world that shock value gets better ratings than actual news. All this year we heard about the biggest knockup getting news, Miss Britol Palin and her publicity seeking fool Levi Johnston, who seems to fuck every hole he can with his major woody. Levi is no better than the meth head who lives out in the boonies with 14 kids from 14 different mommies. But like Kim Kardiansian who seems to go after black football players just to feed her own ego is what we been suffering through watching worthless tv and avoiding the reality crap shows. A never ending cycle of shit through the ringer, no wonder the rest of the world looks down at the USA. If what the best we can do is Palin, American Idol & FOX News, then this is a sorry state of affairs of life as we know it.

The music hasn't been much better, actually a lot worse than 10 years ago if you can believe that. Justin Bieber's is this generation's Tiffany, Lady Gaga the new Madonna and if you don't use autotuner on your songs you won't get them played on the radio. Not much stands out, I heard and brought all The Hold Steady albums but still can't get into them. I doubt that I'd like The Arcade Fire or Gaslight Anthem's latest either but I'm sure if Best Buy has either one for 8 bucks, I'll see what the hype is all about and then pretty file them under heard it all before. I'm sure I'll give the new Goo Goo Dolls a spin but if it's anything like Let Love In, than that will be the last GGD album I'll buy. It takes time to listen to a album, time to invest and I'm beginning to find that time is getting to be more precious as I get older. And yes, the problem is too much music from all decades. And most of what I do buy I tend to listen on the fly. Yes I have too much tunes but still need to go get more before I retire from this all when I turn fifty and then try to sort it all out.

For bargain hunts this month, school will be back in session soon so I will stomach Iowa City one more time before the UI morons returns, as they work on getting their four year degree but still not smart enough to look both way before walking out in front of traffic. There's the music chats on the weekend but there hasn't been much in terms of talking tunes but I go there just to say hi and see who shows up. The music chat room has been dying of late but there are the usual four people who keep it going. Most of the other music heads have been locked up in the Games room at Facebook.

So, we're still in the dog days of summer; cooked by day and drowned at night. Not sure about global warming but we should getting it between the buns with this fucking rains and floods again for the forth straight year. And the Cubs are done, so I'm waiting for September and football and hopefully the best weather.

As for Tim Pawlenty, you can stay the fuck up north asshole. You might get votes in Steve King country and Chuck Grassley too but not here. Too bad we can't build that wall high enough so you cannot get down here with your fear and loathing bullshit. Piss off.