Monday, February 28, 2011

On The Subject Of: Oscars, Suze Rotolo, Eddie Kirkland

Observations From The Forefront:

The Oscars.  I did watch them but had the sound turned off.  I figured it would be the perfect time to review the new Social Distortion Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes LP instead.  I've followed most of Mike Ness' band through the 20 years beginning with their S/T Epic album and then continued off and on.  Somewhere Between Heaven & Hell remains the best for me and the noisy White Light, White Heat White Trash their least with Michael Beinhorn messing up the mix to being unlistenable.  Prison Bound from 1988 I have fond memories of although I never ventured anything before that record.   Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes while not on the level of Somewhere Between H&H but it shows how far Mike Ness has come from being absolute punk to a middle age punk rocker with a love of The Rolling Stones, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and The Ramones and at times the record does sound like a punk version of Exile On Main Street even with the chick background singers. The old Social D remains strong on the instrumental Road Zombie or Far Side Of Nowhere and if Hank Williams was part of Social D, it would be on the remake of Alone & Forsaken.  Funny how the Rolling Stones tribute songs are Can't Take It With You  or California (Hustle & Flow) where the Exile comparisons are at to where chick singers make their appearances.  Nevertheless on side D of the vinyl Ness summarizes the album that You Can't Take It With You and that he's Still Alive after his early years of heroin addictions and too many times at the tattoo place.  And just to show you one last time, the bonus tracks on the album Take Care Of Yourself and I Won't Run Anymore harkens back to the sound of Prison Bound.  But maybe side D is a concept album in itself judging by the titles.  And it just might be my favorite Social D album since SBH&H or at least a good answer record to Exile On Main Street, something that Mick and the boys never quite did themselves (although Some Girls comes close).

The Oscars themselves, I really have no caring to see The King's Speech or The Social Network.  But when I saw Celine Dion singing something to the departed, I was glad that I did have the sound turned off.  Moving on.

Seems like the way things are, we documenting more on obituaries than actual music since most of the movers and shakers in music or movies we don't care that much about.  Suze Rotolo you may not know the name but you know the face if you have seen her.  She's the girl on Bob Dylan's arm on the Freewheeling Bob Dylan album and was the basis for Dylan to create all those powerful songs that he did way back in the 60s.  She passed away at age 67.  She was mostly into art designing and kept a basic low profile even she was with "the elephant in her room" known as Dylan. Dylan did return the favor by writing Don't Think Twice It's Alright with her mind.  And a few others, good and bad.

Eddie Kirkland after playing a gig Sunday Morning  and returning home, made a wrong way U turn in front of a Greyhound Bus and died.  He was 88.  Best known as a bluesman, he best known for appearing on some of John Lee Hooker's early 50s recordings for Modern (I'm In The Mood) and later sessions for a later album on Atco.  He can also be heard on two recordings from the latest Foghat album Last Train Home.  Kirkland also was an band leader for Otis Redding in the early 60s.

Pat Moran who passed away at age 63 earlier in the month died from Pick's Disease, a form of dementia.

“I’m in love with all the women I’ve ever been with, or else I wouldn’t have been with them. That’s why I don’t kiss and tell. That’s a terrible thing – sex is really personal between the two of you. It should never be talked about with anybody else. The subject shouldn’t even arise.”  Lemmy-on not sharing sex secrets.

RIP Harrell "Buddy" Jones former drummer for JJ Cale and later became Leon Russell's manager.  He was 70.

And too bad Charlie Sheen won't go away.  With Mr. Big Mouth blowing coke and ho's all around L.A., NY or Bumfuck Egypt  he is making a demand for higher pay for 2 and a Half Men.  Didn't CBS canceled that show?  You don't get a bonus for a canceled show stupid.  The big problem with media this day and age, they seem to focus more on the stupid and the halfwits rather than the smarter kind.   Rumor has it that CBS was going to rename the show Two Men after Charlie Sheen got the boot.  Actually I thought Jon Cryer was the better of the two actors myself but nobody's reviewing Jon on anything right now.  Just the trainwreck coke snorting, ho raping, wife beating AA reject that is Charlie Sheen.

And so it goes.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hard To Find 45's Part 3

For the most part, I have to come to find that if I want to find a certain 45, that I can find them on You Tube.  It's beyond belief to find forgotten stuff of long ago and far away.

I grew up in a family that loved music, in fact Momma would always treat me, when we can afford it to some new 7 inch singles that was found at old liquor stores, Woolworth's or Goodwill when they were 5 cents each.  This was back in the 60's so I'm showing my age.  The majority of them are still in our procession although the ones that my father has are pretty beat up.  I provide you three selections that have yet to make the You Tube field simply of the fact that nobody has any copies made.   Or maybe they were one of a kind.

She Ain't A Yacht/Lover's Cove by The Cabin Crew (Dimension 1031) 1964

Among one of the records in my dad's collection is a faded 45 that got the label wore off and for the past couple months I have been trying to make heads or tails of this forgotten gem.  The only time it was mentioned was in a Dimension Discography to which I finally was revealed the title of She's Ain't A Yacht.  If memory serves me well, this record was found at the downtown Waterloo Salvation Army store.  Not much is known about the Cabin Crew, and Lover's Cove may have been the A side and it reminds me of The Beach Boys' Surfer Girl.   The B Side She Ain't A Yacht, was played many times and sounded like it but it tells of a story of a guy trading his hot rod for a yacht boat and he goes racing up and down the ocean.  The melody is kind of like Wild One by Bobby Rydell but the vocals recall Beach Boys or Jan And Dean.  It could be argued that Jan & Dean did sing backing vocal on this song but it's all speculation.  But the surfing yacht craze never did catch on and The Cabin Crew sailed off into the sunset.

One Beer-Chuck Murphy With Pee Wee Erwin's Dixieland Band (Coral 61014) 1953

Another forgotten record of the past that I was trying to find over the internet but the only copy I came across via the net was a 78 which don't do nothing for me since I don't have a 78 record player so I to reference the old scratchy 45 that was in my dad's record collection.  The record has seen better days and it wouldn't surprise me if somebody left it on the highway for a while.   Chuck Murphy is one of the forgotten minor stars of the early 50s,  he started out covering Louis Jordan in They Raided The Joint and Lay Something On The Table Besides Your Elbow.  He may have been a early rockabilly star but he actually sang a lot like Moon Mullican.  He was influenced by Fats Waller as well as Jordan.  He did a couple of crossover selections with Pee Wee Erwin's Dixieland Band, to which one of them was One Beer.   The lyrics are a hoot.

One beer makes you so sincere
Two beers make you cry
Three beers and you're full of cheer
Four beers you heave a sigh
Five beers and you wink your eye
To somebody passing by
Six beers and you have to go
So you women say goodbye

Now the final line might be So you went and say goodbye and it might be what Murphy is singing but to my ears it would be easier to sing it that way.  Or perhaps Chuck Murphy was trying to keep it PC.  Anyhoo, One Beer may have been the B side to the super silly 2D Girl In A 3D Town to which Murphy changes the melody over to boogie woogie while the Dixieland band grooves with horn counterpoints.  But unfortunately I couldn't play that side of the record since it skipped all over the record player.  But it was more rocking than dixieland to be sure.  Chuck Murphy would go over to Columbia for a few more choice rockabilly sides before retiring.. Found the 45 in its sorry state at a flea market years later.  Easier to find on 78 judging of the fact that perhaps I may have scored the only 45 of this number.

Too Many Mornings/Life Goes On by Fresh Air 1972 (Columbia 4-45697)

My last offering of the hard to find 45's come from a country band that recorded one album for Columbia.  This promo came from CD's 4 Change last week and it's in a sorry state too.  The promo notes this band came from 1000 Oaks California and they had country rock influences from Crosby Stills & Nash and even a bit of bluegrass and easy listening country too.  Kinda like a more mellower Poco.  The only player of this band who was halfway known was Don Heffington and he didn't even play on the failed hit single of Too many Mornings (Hal Blaine did the honors).  B side was the more uptempo Life Goes On.  Too bad Columbia didn't decide to go with the more country flavored Continental Highway and give that to country radio but Columbia never promoted this band all that well judging by the promo sheet that came with the record.   They were never heard from again.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

On The Subject Of: Comments & Follow Ups

 This just in....This month I have 865 views of my website which is a record, beating the old one set just last month.  Thanks everybody for reading.  Means a lot to the old Crabb. In the coming week I'll will do an update on lost and forgotten 45s in my collection, plus the continuing story of Music Of My Years, to which I take a certain part of a decade and fill in the gaps of what happens then and the music that mattered most.  They seem to pull in decent ratings for people love nostalgia.  Plus it keeps my mind going.

I noticed by the spam mail left in The Beeker Street Notes that I may have come into my own and that the Crabb site is not a fly by night blogspot after all.

Real Records closed up shop Thursday Night and no I didn't get down there due to slick roads and not feeling well.  One less record store to go to now.

My friend from the classic rock/yardbird's roost/the roost site Starman wrote a pretty long comment so I thought I give out a shout out and as always a pleasure to hear from the man himself.  We have gone back over 10 years now and even though I don't do the chat very much anymore we do keep in touch via blogspot or Multiply.  We spent many a night closing down the chat when the sun was shining but as the Sidewinders said in a 1990 song we don't do that anymore.  Times changed, people move on or get married or pass on or never get out of that classic rock era mindframe to talk a conversation or keep an interest in music after 1980 or before 1962.   I can't speak for the classic rock hardcore, and my radical musical tastes were always over the top for Patty who oversaw the Classic Rock chat at the Mining Company/About. com and even throwing some obscure 70s song threw a bit of fits in Grayby or Vinylville, both great people with a love of their classic rock music but I always seek out the obscure and the forgotten and even jumping into different genre's.  I never tried to limit myself on one band or the other.  And basically it got me into trouble at times and usually what I posted at got bounced out since nobody knew what band I was talking about.  Which gave me the chance to do something different Steve provided me with my own little blogsite in 2003 so I could talk about the music that excited me and do a top ten of music that was playing in my CD player.   Each and every one of us who participated in the weekend chats got to see to hear the music that mattered most.  Steve providing each and everyone of us a copy of Jack Bonus.  The majority of folk were classic rock fans most of all,  but Laine The Tea Lady loved big band music, and Harvey was into late 50's early 60s oldies.  Imagine our surprise when both he and me was playing Pretty Girls Everywhere by Eugene Church one night at the same time.  And of course Starman finding a obscure late 60s album by Pussy and sending a copy of me to listen to.  It does sound a bit like prog rock and I have actually played it a lot since getting it.  Even in this late age of myself, there's always something from the past I have yet to discover and hear.   And yes I do miss the chats but the last year it was simply a chore to sit and listen to people go from discussing music to politics and it went downhill.  And yes, a few chatters did move on because of that.  Basically my views are a little more left than right, basically I'm a progressive liberal but there's a bit of Conservative in me but not to the point of gospel according to Rush or Hannity.  Granted I did rant and rave about the last president in my time over at MSN Groups,  and it may have been cheap entertainment or shock and awe but I have refrained from doing that over here at Blogspot simply of the fact there's too many shock bloggers out there that do that, so I only talk music and try to keep a positive vibe here.  It keeps me from having a heart attack.

With the death of the music chats and not much input over at Multiply  I decided to take my biz over here because Blogspot was easier to manage and blog than Multiply or My Space.  The latter the biggest pain in the ass to blog and they went downhill once Rupert Murdoch threw his conservative bucks into that site.  Over 400 friends and followers and all I got in the inbox was shitty bands emailing me to listen to their shitty music.  In hindsight it wasn't all bad,  the select few who made classic rock chat fun, did look me up and did hang around.  Some dropped out but then they found me via Google or Facebook and we reconnected once again.  The ones who became good friends are the ones still around.  Or have returned.  One of the most welcome return was Brooksie, out of all the classic rock chat folk, she had the knowledge to seek and comment and talk about new music and there was a time back around the mid 2000s that her top tens and news just about topped some of my blogs.  She certainly did her homework to the point that when she couldn't do the top ten on a regular basis, I then took over commenting on the top ten songs of the week.  It's  one thing just to do a top ten with songs only and no comments, it's another to comment on songs. And it takes a good hour and half to come up with songs and comments and hoping that the reader goes and check the songs out via You Tube or the record store.  Or Amazon although a 30 second snippet never does a song justice I don't think.

Even though I do dominate the top ten for most of the year I do enjoy comments and submissions from other folks, Starman has contributed a few, my GF has done that as well, and of course TAD made a appearance with his very own.  And of course whenever Brooksie gets done with one, I'll post it but I have notice that some of the songs that she did put on her site are varied just like before.  Moving to Blogspot started out slow and I didn't get much traffic the first couple years but with the addition of TAD's site and Drew's Odd And Sods giving me a link from their sites, traffic has increased big time.  If it wasn't for these guys, I would be playing to an audience of 3.  With Brooksie and Starman making a return, it's special because we all go way back to the classic rock chat of the early 00's.  For the new music SassyPassey is into the newer and more country stuff, for anything Kid Rock or Uncle Kracker, that's her faves. But she's is open minded to the point that I'll send her some oldies music of the past her way or to further try her patience play some Captain Beefheart or Velvet Underground's Sister Ray.  So far, the only song she wasn't too impressed was Gogi Grant's Wayward Wind.  But she's more tolerant of that than I am with Auto Tuned crap on top forty radio.

I did the top tens on both here and Multiply but after the first of the year decided to hang here and leave a link for those at Multiply to follow the latest adventures.  I do miss chatting with Harvey and Hoop and Laine and Tom from time to time but it's not to the point that I disappeared altogether. Google R.S.Crabb at Blogspot and you'll find me easy.  For 4 years I was on My Space but My Space sucks and hard to navigate and trying to find old blogs that are worth saving a pain in the ass.   Over here, the archives are much easier to find stuff and too bad i didn't start doing Blogspot more so than I did My Space the first couple years.   The simple fact is that I don't toot my horn all that much, and I'm not that outrageous as Mark Prindle, nor wordy as Robert Christgau is though I idolized the man and read his monthly consumer guide reviews whenever I could. 

But I think the reason most of all blogging here is that I get more surprises from other folks. Hearing from a fan who likes the Lovehammers or Long-View.  Or even hearing from Bob Wiseman from Blue Rodeo on a question of what ever happened to.  Or being acknowledged from The Brains themselves when I wrote a blog about them.  I don't expect to hear from the musicians or bands that I grew up listening to, nor do I bother them on their sites or Twitter.  But when they do comment about something I wrote then it does makes my day.    Although I kinda wished that Rhett Miller would have mentioned something since I had four copies of his 1989 Mythologies CD.  Only have one now but it's number 110 of 1000.  But he has other things to do then hearing me talk about that.

Reply to Starman:   Yeah I would love to come up your way once again since it's been 10 years since I've been up around Spokane.  Would love to go to Unified Groove. The music stores kinda have changed since I've been and in Seattle too, I know the Wherehouse Music chains are gone the way of Tower and Virgin Music Mart.  The Ames Hastings store closed in 2009 but when I went to Arizona last year, I went to the ones around Northern AZ and found some Sony Music CDs of note for 3.99 (ELO, Motorhead, Willie and Waylon).  Hastings was a joke half the time but I did enjoy seeing what they had in the cheap bins.  If I can win the big lottery I'll be sure to come up there and hang for a week or so.

I was going to do a Motley Crue blog on the Can't Review Them All segment but I'll go with this, I never cared much for them either, went to see them with Whitesnake here in 1987 and big mouth Vince Neil blew my damn eardrum out with his bellowing.  Think I lost half my hearing that night.  They were second rate KISS at best,  I don't mind Dr. Feelgood if had to have one Crue.  Which I don't.  Guy up at CD4 Change played a Crue bootleg when I was up there from 1987.  Brought back the old memories of the five and headaches.....Lemmy doesn't come across your arrogant rocker at all, he's pretty much down to earth and lives a quiet life, none of the rock star excesses and stays out of trouble.  Kinda interested to see that movie although reviews have been so so.  I got a lot of Motorhead albums, most from the classic Fast Eddie Clarke era, but also the albums with Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee whose been the longest lasting lineup.  Seek out 1993's Bastards for classic over the top rock and roll & 2006's Kiss Of Death.  The new one The World Is Yours is kinda of lacking but it does beat anything Motley Crue ever did.

As always Starman, it was fun in the classic rock chats while it lasted and as long as it lasted.  But I'm always here should ya want to talk tunes.  I live for the music, just ask my GF.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Top Ten Of The Week-The Lesser Of The Evils

Some observations of note:

A big happening up in Madison as their governor tries to union bust and there's been plenty of protesting going on the past five days because of that.  Not too many people are happy about that but this is what happens when you do not vote.  When you do not vote, you are settling for the worst case scenario and that being Scott Walker, who got in the promise to balance the budget at all costs.  When you do not vote, you have made a choice for Scott Walker in your non voting.  Simple as that, just as those who didn't vote down here cast a vote for the return of Terry Branstad, a governor who also drawing his pension from previous serving as Governor.  Don't think for a moment that Terry Bob isn't thinking of doing away the collective bargaining down here too but he's not as extreme or as dumb as Scott Walker to do it right off the bat.   But as they say battle lines are being drawn and this is probably as close we got to the protests of the late 60s.  In some ways Scott Walker reminds me of Evan Mecham, the Arizona governor who disallowed Martin Luther King Day and people protested to the point that eventually the guy got removed from office.  But I don't think Mecham would ever gone as far as take away the collective bargaining like Walker is trying to do just appease the Koch Brothers, the ones who got Walker into office and wishing for a return to slavery days.  But I'm certain if Evan was alive he would considered that.

But still, even when Walker was running his campaign that even I knew if this guy would get in there would be consequences to be had and this is what you reap for not voting people.  Even if you vote for the lesser of the evils at least you voted against Scott Walker and have that right to bitch and protest.  Just like voting for Branstad by not voting.  For when they talk about sacrificing, realize this that it will be you and me that will doing most of the sacrificing, not them.

Funny how when you see these dictators such as Gaddafi or The Iranian Ayatollah bitching about the Great Satan Imperialist West meddling into their affairs, their goon squad is killing their own people who are against their dictatorial government.  It never seems to amaze me how much these so called men of Allah who suppressed their own people blame the US for every little thing that happens.  Hypocrites to the 9th degree, remember what Jesus said of beware of false prophets?  They're usually dictators, or men with money behind the puppet politician.   We tend to protest of wanting freedom but when we do get the freedom who gets the be the next big man, usually the rich kind that looks out for themselves and not the people who elected them in the first place.   Just a observation.

Speaking of hypocrites, Vince Neil, lead singer and drunk of Motley Crue thinks his jail sentence was a little harsh because he's a rock star and of his previous arrests.  This comes from a guy who killed the Hanoi Rocks drummer after driving drunk in 1984 and basically killed off that band.  Yep, being a rock star kept him out of the slammer for that, if it was anybody else it would have been manslaughter.  If there was any justice in the world, Neil would have died from cirrhosis of the liver and we wouldn't have to deal with his hi jinx anymore but since he's blessed with a cast iron liver, he's free to drink and drive and speed up and down the highway because he's a rock star and has his right to do that.  But there's something ridiculous about a fat, washed up, past his prime, over fifty and looking more like Joe 12 pack who can't get the local 18 year old to look his way anymore to blame those who arrested him due to his rock stardom.  Grow the fuck up Neil and be glad your in the US to do such juvenile things.  If you were in Iran you would have been hanged years ago.

Clyde Clifford has mentioned that there hasn't been much going on in trying to get Beaker Street to another radio station, he says that there's some interest but the ducks are not in the row and it would be another two to three weeks at least.  His wife says Sorry guys but she's loving  the time she's with her sweetie.  It will end soon but till then, HE'S MINE!  her words.

If you up in Madison not protesting against Koch Walker on Thursday at the Wild Horse Saloon they have Dash Rip Rock and Cowboy Mouth, to which Fred LeBlanc, leader of Cowboy Mouth once played drums for DRR back when they were ripping up the country with their rowdy cowpunk rock and roll.  I always been a big fan of Dash Rip Rock but Cowboy Mouth has been a tougher sell, most of their albums so so.  But live Cowboy Mouth is made for the stage so perhaps its best to see them live.  Of course having Wild Bill Davis leading DRR is as fun gets, unlike Vince Neil and his drunken escapades.  And if your in St Louis, The Godfathers (The UK band not the movie) played last night at Off Broadway.  Too bad I didn't get the memo sooner, I'd considered going there.  The Godfathers best known for Birth Work School Death and one of the few guitar driven bands of the 80s have reformed with most of the original members (except for prima donna Kris Dollimore) and have been promoting their lastest live album.  Don't have it myself but you can still find their CDs cheap at  Or you can buy the vinyl albums at CD's  4 Change and Moondog Music. I enjoy their stuff myself.

The Top Ten Of The Week:
1.  Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood-Santa Esmeralda 1977  Big disco hit of the Animals classic remade for the times of dancing.  I always thought that the 3 minute version was always lacking but never got around hearing the full 17 minute side long track till I found it in the dollar bins last weekend.  Followup House Of The Rising Sun rarely got a second glance.

2.  Spirit In The Night-Manfred Mann's Earth Band 1975  The start of the Bruce Springsteen infatuation although this got more airplay on the underground FM shows rather than regular radio.  Beaker Street played this a lot too.

3.  Pearl Necklace-Z Z Top 1981  As much as I would like to tell you that Eliminator is their classic, I perfer the oddball El Loco with flop single Tube Snake Boogie and this 45 follow up which got airplayed a lot in the summer of 81.  Robert Christgau writes in his review that a Pearl Necklace is southern term for a blow job.  How that got airplay under Ronald Reagan's watch is one of life's mysteries.

4.  Shook Down-Yuck 2011  Despite the odious name, this is actually a good throwback to the days of early 90's alt rock with an ode to Sparklehorse, My Bloody Valentine and the mellow Velvet Underground.  I loved going to Best Buy and having the smart ass sales clerk asking what I was looking for and I replied Got Yuck?  He didn't know what the hell I was talking about.

5.  Mona-Quicksilver Messenger Service 1969  I am not a fan of their bloated Happy Trails album, which was part live and part acid trip.  The 25 minute Who Do You Love wears out its welcome after 5 minutes but I do prefer the shorter 6:35 version of their Bo Diddley tribute which lead into the sleepy Maiden Of The Cancer Moon and then the snoozefest Cavalry.  Sounded good at the time with all that echo but not much music to remember by.  But Mona does rock in its own way.  Second best track off Happy Trails, the minute long title track.

6.  Church On Cumberland Road-Shenandoah 1989  Our country selection of the night and it comes from a band that reminds one of Alabama, not much on the rock and roll and heavy on the ballads.  They do boast a great singer in Marty Rayborn but since nobody in the band wrote and had to rely on Nashville songwriters, they didn't last very long at any label.  Country radio still plays this once a day though.

7.  Your Woman-White Town 1997  One hit wonder. Found this on a 45 if you can believe that for fifty cents.  I have heard their album is mostly very mellow stuff.  And so it goes.

8.  Keep On Trying-Poco 1975  After being on Epic for 7 years, Poco moved on the ABC label and scored a top 20 hit with this mellow acoustic number written by Timothy B Schmitt.  Probably 3rd of my all time Poco Faves outside of Good Feeling To Know and Railroad Days.

9.  Nutshell-Alice In Chains 1994  AIC was hit and miss for me, didn't like Facelift, loved Dirt and Jar Of Flies was in between the two although the quiet mellowness didn't hide the fact of Jerry Cantrell's or Layne Staley' dark lyrics.  This  song was the reason why I bought Jar Of Flies.  Perfect for being isolated from the world.

10. I Know I'm Losing You-Rod Stewart & The Faces 1971  Maggie May is overplayed, this isn't.  Which is why I chose this as the final track to this top ten.  The first three Rod Stewart albums are classic, when he got together with Faces he became a boogie man and made sloppy fun rock and roll.  Hard to believe it's the same guy that gave us those Great American Songbooks of the last decade.  Touring with Stevie Nicks this summer and while she wants to practice, he wants to go spur of the moment.  Would be even more funner if he reunited with Ronnie Wood and Kenny Jones and Ian Mclegan too.  But he won't.

A note from Craig at Real Records..
Hi Rodney  -- Thanks for your kind words.  Our last day of operation 
 will be Thurs. Feb.24th and we'll be open well into the night.  Come by 
 for some refreshments.  Thanks again, Craig K.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Music Of My Years: 1984-1986: End Of The Drive In's

Around 1983 on a patch of land now where my second home Half Priced Books is at, used to be the Twixt Town Drive In,  a majestic beautiful drive in that we used to go watch movies at during the high school years.  That is where I watched Up In Smoke and the God awful Looking For Mr. Goodbar around 1979.  I think the last year they showed any movies was 1982 and then it closed up.  However, it would stand there in the next couple years, fairly maintained, ready for the next season of movies but nobody bought it.  Some days I would bike ride out to the drive in and hang around the playground area. and one day wishing I could buy it.  Too bad I never took any pictures of this while it was up.

Back then Twixt Town Road was a simple two lane road curling out to the front of Lindale Mall.  Before the strip malls came and congested traffic likewise.  Around 1985, the Drive In would be bulldozed down to make way of incoming evil.  The evil that would claim the Drive In and later the record store I used to hang out in the 90s.   The evil known as Best Buy.

If anything this part of my life is very blurry.  After the failure of trying to become a DJ and getting a degree at Kirkwood, I ended up enrolling at some fly by night college called Hamilton Business College (later bought by Kaplin University, the snake oil fly by night school whose commercials are ran 10 to 12 times per hour in the daytime.  The last semester at KCC was interesting.  I got to meet John Hauseman, the actor from The Paper Chase and he was fun to talk to.  In fact KGAN did a commercial to which he was there and I made a cameo so I made the TV news that way.   There was a girl in my Public Relations class that taken a liking to me, I forgot her name, but she was cute.  One night me and my friends were up at Kitty's watching a band and she sat a table across from me and smiled and waited but I never got much courage to go up and talk to her and frustrated she left the bar crying about that.  I felt about it and decided that when I got to Kirkwood I'd look her up and try to explain myself, that I wasn't used to having that type of attention.   I never did find her.

Basically the rock band was dying and the folk were tired of supporting my lost cause even though we did play at the OK Lounge December 7, 1984 in Marion and made 32 bucks in the process.  By then I was studying to be a computer programmer but all we did at Hamilton was seeing the teacher take us down to Bulicheks and drink and bullshit most of the afternoon.  We did graduate but out of the 20 people who graduated from HBC with a diploma but only 1 person did get a computer job.  Myself I ended up finally taking a 3rd shift job, processing Pell Grants for some place called National Computer Service in Iowa City, a long drive but it was a college town and it had record stores galore.  BJ's Records the best and there was Record Collector to boot and a big cutout section.  So I found myself staying up all night and then waiting for the store to open so I can buy them.  It seemed to be a big deal buying Rolling Stones Exile On Main Street for 16 bucks back then (try today when I bought the same set for 35 bucks, should have kept the original). and plus I was completing my record collection when the ones up around home didn't have them.

But for all the intent, my job was a temporary position and that if you wanted to get on full time you had to apply from within.  The biggest pain in the ass was hearing The Fox going from album rock to top forty and hearing the same damn songs four times per night.  This began my dislike for top forty, hearing Broken Wings four times a night would be nerve grating or Take On Me.   One night somebody changed it over to the university station to which they actually played Sister Ray by The Velvet Underground which the old ladies begin to really complain about that song as much as I did with Broken Wings.

That winter of 85-86 was terrible.  Snowstorms every night and below zero days when the sun came out so I was ready to get the hell out of Iowa and head down to Arizona for warmer weather.  I made the decision to go on a blizzard night to which I got ran off the road by a GD F'n oversized pickup driving down the middle of the fucking road.  And being stuck in the middle of nowhere for 3 hours before a sheriff came and got me a tow truck and 55 bucks later made it to work around 3 AM.

At that time I really begin to regress back to the music I grew up with.  At that time Atlantic and Chess/MCA were beginning to open up their vaults and reissuing lots of the out of print soul and blues albums.  If I paid much attention to stuff it was basically the old classic rock acts trying to update their sound with disastrous results.  Blue Oyster Cult's Club Ninja was one of those.

But with an attempt for a better life, I moved in with my aunt in Chandler Arizona late 1986 and discovered Tower Records and Zia Records and Rockaway Records and that they had much more old records from the past, which enabled me to discover Love Forever Changes and the Mott The Hoople Atlantic albums which I never saw back home.  Unfortunly in the five and half months of being there, I couldn't find a decent job, everything was part time temp help and got the roundaround from Burger King to a contruction job site that I went there twice at 5 AM trying to convince the guy to hire me and to which he said next time he was calling the cops.  I got into a temp help agency about their hiring practices only to have the fucking jerks follow me out after I called them a waste of time.  I thought I had something lined up at Discover Card, hell the woman kept winking at me and thinking I may have gotten a job but no avail.  And basically the aunt told me I either had to leave back home or out of the house.  Fed up, I returned back to Iowa late march and reconnected with NCS back to Pell, back to square one and 3,000 dollars in the hole.

In 1985, K mart was selling these small compact discs for 25 bucks a pop and touting them the wave of the future. Just down the road from the ashes of the Twixt Town Drive In, came up a new strip mall with a new place selling electronics and the new CDs was a place called Best Buy.  Little did we know that this was the beginning of a brand new era in recorded music and a big change in the wind.

The records that mattered at that time.
John Mellencamp-Uh Huh, Scarecrow, The Lonesome Jubilee
The Firm-The Firm, Mean Business
Roger Daltry-Under A Raging Moon
Peter Townsend-White City-A Novel, Deep End Live
REM-Fables Of The Reconstruction, Life's Rich Pagent
Georgia Satellites
Blue Oyster Cult-Club Ninja
The Plimsouls-Everywhere At Once
Jesus & Mary Chain-Psycho candy, Dark-lands
Aerosmith-Done With Mirrors
Husker Du-New Day Rising, Warehouse
Stevie Ray Vaughn-Texas Flood, Couldn't Stand The Weather, Live Alive
Nick Lowe And His Cowboy Outfit, The Rose Of England
The Lonesome Strangers-Lonesome Pine
The Ramones-Too Tough To Die
Deep Purple-Perfect Strangers, House Of Blue Light
Fabulous Thunderbirds-T Bird Rhythm, Tuff Enuff
The Who-Who's Last, Who's Missing, Two's Missing
Rank & File-Long Gone Dead, Rank & File
The Beat Farmers-Tales Of The New West, Van Go
U2-Under A Blood Red Sky, The Joshua Tree
Richard Thompson-Hand Of Kindness, Across A Crowded Room, Daring Adventures
Fairport Convention-Gladys' Leap
Graham Parker-Steady Nerves, The Mona Lisa's Sister
Velvet Underground-V.U, Another View
Rolling Stones-Undercover, Dirty Work
The Kinks-Word Of Mouth, Think Visual
John Hiatt-Warming Up To The Ice Age
Neil Young- Landing On Water, Life
Whitesnake, Slide It In, Whitesnake
Robert Palmer-Clues, Pride, Riptide

Dubuque Bargain Hunting

A collection of odds and ends.

Saturday I decided to trek up on to Dubuque to do my tri yearly visiting the old hippie at Moondog Music and the Smoking Dude at CD's 4 Change which is the better vinyl record store although the only things I bought was 2 45s for fifty cents each.  One was a replacement copy of Tommy James Say I Am (What I Am)B/W Lots Of Pretty Girls, even though it was without a sleeve it looked in VG plus shape.  The other was Badfinger 1973 lost hit Apple Of My Eye to which was in a box of scratchy old Beatles and Apple 45s.  Sad that Apple never bothered to promote this song nor the album Ass which got reissued on CD for the first time in the US last year.  Even though I only found a couple 45s, I enjoyed opening up box after box of discarted 45s just to see what was in there.  True there was plenty of Beatles 45s but most were in poor shape.  Perhaps I should have picked up the Vee Jay version of Please Please Me just for a copy at hand.

The old hippie at Moondog Music didn't have much either for stuff but I did pick up the new Yuck cd.  In fact I asked the hippie chick up there "got Yuck?"  to which she replied yes they did.  Unlike Best Buy.  Thought about picking up the 3 LP Jamey Johnson Guitar Sound record for 25 bucks but decided on Malcolm McLaren 1984 album for Island called Fans.  The former Sex Pistol Svengali had a interesting recording career of his own, getting a top 50 song with Buffalo Girls but Fans was McLaren's vision of doing a opera album with beats instead.  Which should have guaranteed failure but actually it's a not bad listen although the casual rock fan or Sex Pistol fan will have nothing to do with Madam Butterfly or Carmen.  Boys Chorus is about as close as punk rock as it gets.

Borders is still in business and the only thing they had of interest is some selected EMI and Roxy Music albums for 6.99 but since I have most of the Roxy Music albums, I didn't see the need to upgrade.  Basically I seen a lotta new music on vinyl but just didn't see the need to spend 30 bucks on Greg Allman's latest album..  In fact I could have bought all three Godfathers albums on Epic from both CDs 4 Change and Moondog Music if I wanted to, but since I already have the cds that would be penny foolish.

I was surprised Old Purple made it up to Dubuque with radiator running low on anti freeze and the damn pressure gauge playing Give Crabby A Heart Attack while watching it close to H and me hoping I can get the GD cap off and put more anti freeze in there.  After 282,000 miles it needs to be retired and a new car to get but hopefully my brother said that the gray car is just about done after two months of trying to get it fixed.  I'd would love to gone up to Madison to bargain hunt and go to the State Capitol and sit along the protesters against the dictating Governor up there but knowing my luck I would have gotten into a fight and thrown in jail.  Nevertheless, it's still winter and it still snows more up there than here.  Maybe sometime next month.

No shortage of music at Half Priced Books, they added the 3 CD Time Life Best Of Jerry Lee Lewis and the 3 CD complete Sun Recordings of Johnny Cash for 14.98.  And so far nobody has bought the Merle Haggard 4 cd best of, they still got 4 copies of that box set. which tells a more complete picture than anything else out there.  And Gordon Lightfoot's 1977 Endless Wire is still in the 2 dollar bins.  Go figure but since I already have a copy I'm sure some lucky buyer will pick it up.  What I found for two bucks this time out.

Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack-When I was in high school, everybody had this album.  And when it came out on cd everybody had it too but most copies I have seen in the bargain bins were the BMG Record Club version.  This one wasn't a Club CD so I picked it up and listened to it on the way to Dubuque but I had headphones on since the GD POS radio quit working.  Barry Gibb's high falsetto gets a bit annoying at times but the songs are pretty much top rate. I'd say it's one side of Bee Gees, one side of Bee Gees helping out other arists, one side of David Shire's disco incidental music and one side of Philadelphia Disco, namely Disco Inferno by The Trammps and K-Jee by MFSB, the band behind the Philadelphia International Records hits.  30 years after the fact, Saturday Night Fever remains the quintessential soundtrack to 1977 and the disco era although I do not consider the Bee Gees songs that much disco.  It's only disco when it goes over 5 minutes.

Shenandoah-The Road Not Taken (Columbia 1989)  Like their counterpart Restless Heart, this country band were more known for their ballads and on this album 8 of them are ballads.   But I think these guys had a eye toward the ladies with such sappy stuff as Sunday In The South or Two Dozen Roses or Mama Knows.  The only two songs that are uptempo are their number one hit Church On Cumberland Road which they really don't break a sweat and the last track the deceptive Hard Country, which isn't hard country but rather pop country with a nod toward to the usual suspects (Poco, Eagles).  Marty Rayborn sounds a bit like Hal Ketchem which is good but since Shenandoah got their material from Nashville Songwriters Pipeline (Rick Boyles, Robert Byrne who co produced) instead of themselves they were expendable and would move on to BNA/RCA and Capitol for more of the same.  Judging from what I have seen in the dollar bins, they seem to have more Greatest Hits compilations than actual albums.  Not exactly a good thing.  Fun fact: Church On Cumberland Road was co written by Dennis Robbins, who used to be in the hard rocking Rockets before leaving to a somewhat checkered solo career and made two so so albums for Giant Records.

Larry Knechtel-Urban Gypsy (Capitol 1990)  He played in Bread during their hit making years and hung around David Gates after the breakup but he was basically a top flight session player for the pop rock elite of the 70s (James Taylor, Carole King come to mind).  Basically his own albums tend to be a lot like Larry Carlton, moreorless pop jazzy to which you probably heard on the Weather Channel when they did the local on the 8s.  Covers David Gates Aubrey and Laura Lee, beats Larry Carlton on Takin It To The Streets and if theres a thing as new age reggae, it's this version of I Can See Clearly Now.  But his own compositions are more jazz influenced to which is why KCCK played this at one time.  Good background music to do you taxes by.

Malcolm McLaren-Fans (Island 1984) B
Shenandoah-The Road Not Taken (Columbia 1989) C
Larry Knechtel-Urban Gypsy (Capitol 1990) B-
Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack (Reprise 1977) A-

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Top Ten Of The Week-Love & Pancakes

As I get older, I tend to find that the old body doesn't work the way it used to be, especially when I had my gallbladder removed back in 2002, I find that if I overdo the buffets I tend to make a 50 yard dash to the bathroom.  Nowadays even a can of soup does that too.  Not sure about the advantages of growing old.  But in my nighttime travels, I have come to go to either Perkins or IHOP for midnight pancakes.  We don't have a Denny's anymore and Happy Chef is a thing of the past.  If I was up in a town that has it, I do stop at Dennys for the grand slam.   The Village Inn does have a breakfast menu all day but I don't think they're open when I get off work.  Which leaves only IHOP or Perkins.   I tend to find IHOP's pancakes to be more like sinkers, they stay in your stomach longer and makes you feel full more than Perkins and their Buttermilk Five which does the trick.  But I'm sure my GF does make a mean set of Pancakes from time to time.  But when she's not around and I haven't eaten all day, then I truck on down 380 to Perkins for a midnight snack.

And so begins the next edition of The Top Ten Of The Week, to which I pick 10 songs of note and make a comment or two and then put it up for special viewing and await comments.  But I usually preparing the next blog since I don't get much commenting outside of the usual spam at the usual places.

Thanks to everybody that enjoys my Growing Up series to which I pick out a certain decade and remember the good times.  Be assured that I will continue to put them out from time to time but not all at once.  I have to relive and remember what I did back then and coming to find out that I remember more about my childhood years than the 80s which was a blur and the 90s much worse.  It's hard to understand the mind and why I can remember the grade and high school years better than living at the old duplex in Cedar Rapids in the 90s.  As I get older I tend to be more in a fog and feeling like Grandpa Simpson.  If this is the shape of things to come, then I better jot everything down now as it happens cuz we all know come tomorrow I'll forget it all.

The Top Ten Of The Week.

1.  See-The Rascals 1969  Despite what Lenny Kaye thought of this album, I thought it rocked pretty damn good although the best songs found their way on 45.  The title track even at 4:34 was a edit of the 5 minute song and it got plenty of airplay on the old Old Gold 108 FM station years ago. Back then FM radio did play most of the oldies and not the usual overplayed.    The flip side, Away Away, features some of the most complex drumming Dino Danelli ever played.  How the hell he did those continuing drum rolls is beyond me. 

2.  Got Love Cause You Need It-Steve Miller Band 1969  To which the space cowboy becomes the Swing Cowboy.   I tend to think it was a throwaway but Tim Davis throws a nasty groove to it.   Miller dedicated the song to Richard Nixon at one point.

3.  Looking For A Girl-Teddy Thompson 2011  Critics have been calling his new album his best yet but that's a bit too early but I'm rooting for Richard and Linda's talented son.  This would make a wonderful song to hear on Soft Crap station KDAT but they're too busy playing Train or Sheryl Crow or that song about drunken sex, I think it's called Need You Now and it won a bunch of Grammys TM.  Anyway, Teddy has been on Verve Forecast for 4 albums now, which is double more than anybody else but Bella (the album) is worth checking out.  Perhaps Teddy should borrow the A and R dude behind Lady Antebellum.  Or Train.

4.  Pretend We're Dead-L7 1992  Hard to believe that the era of grunge is now 20 years behind us which shows how fast time flies when you spend over half that on the net blogging about music like I have been.  And getting nowhere in the process.  L7 was this alt grunge all chick band that made three albums for Slash/Reprise before returning to the independent underground scene.  Butch Vig produced this.

5.  Can't Explain-Long-View 2005  One of the best songs that Coldplay never made, this came from a shoegazer band that was 15 years removed from that time.  Actually heard this playing at Hardee's one day a few years ago and was amazed it got even played at all.  They recorded one album for Columbia and disappeared but I think this is a better love song than Lady Antebellum Need You Now.  Maybe it's not a love song but I love the chorus of I waited for Hours, Hours turn to days, days turn to years and I'm still here. Sony/BMG didn't think it would sell so it was one of those rare albums of 2005 that didn't get that dreaded rootkit Copy protected CD disease which started the downfall of CD sales.

6.  Wishing Well-Nick Lowe 1985    Elvis Costello, God bless him, when he went into the rock and roll hall of fame he said that Nick Lowe should be there too since Lowe started before him and wrote the songs before he did.   Lowe has been around forever, beginning with pub rockers Brinsley Schwartz and then becoming a punk rock producer for The Dammed and becoming a witty punk popper with So It Goes and Heart Of The City and then started the greatest band of the late 70s, Rockpile with Dave Edmunds till they had a falling out and Lowe started up a new band with Paul (How Long) Carrack and made four decent albums together which The Rose Of England was the best of the bunch.  This was one of the lesser known numbers off Rose Of England and tacked on the latest Best of called Quiet Please, The New Best Of Nick Lowe.  And I forgotten how good this song was till I heard it again.  FYI: Yep Roc, Lowe's US label is reissuing Labor Of Lust next month.  Here's hoping they add Rose Of England to the reissue department.

7.  Got To Get Better In A Little While-Derek And The Dominoes 1971  Not released till 1987.  The find of the week was Eric Clapton's Crossroads, that massive 4 cd box set that I found for 8 bucks at Half Priced Books over the weekend.   Now I really didn't need it except for the fact that I don't need to rebuy the 40th Anniversary of Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs which will be out in March.  GD it I bought the 20th Anniversary edition as well as the remastered Layla.  Anyway, this track was supposed to be part of the aborted 2nd album from Derek/Dominoes but EC was so wacked out on heroin that he was in no shape to continue it and would spend another couple years getting cleaned up.  Bobby Whitlock wasn't part of this song so his vocals and keyboards were not on this version.  However, they did play this in concert and they jammed on it for just about 14 minutes.  A tour de force.

8.  Questions Of My Childhood-Kansas 1976  B side to Carry On Wayward Son but I think I played this just as much as that one when it came out on 45.

9.   It's Over-Boz Scaggs 1976  More then just Lowdown,Silk Degrees is Boz Scaggs coming into his own as a good white soul artist although when he was with Steve Miller he was more rock than soul but times changed.  CBS promoted four singles off this album to which this was the first that came out.  I remember buying this album at the old Zaire's store in Lincoln  Illinois for 3.99 the next year.  

10.  Gator Country-Molly Hatchet 1978  Molly Hatchet came on the heels of the 2nd wave of Southern Rock after Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash that took Ronnie Van Zant from this world and Danny Joe Brown takes a lot of his songwriting from Van Zant.  Molly Hatchet was a bit more heavier than the Skynyrd boys and I remember KUPD playing this cut a few times when I lived in AZ in 86.

The last buys at Real Records Documented
Social Distortion-Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes (LP)
Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band-Clear Spot (LP)
Martin Mull & His Fabulous Furniture In Your Living Room (LP)
Otis Redding-The Soul Album (CD)
Oh Boy Records Presents Joe Tex (CD)
The Primitives-Buzz Buzz Buzz The Complete Lazy Recordings (CD)

Thanks for the memories Craig!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Grammys 2011

I didn't watch the Grammys TM since I had to work but I was kept entertained by the things that I have seen on Twitter last night.  It used to be that we used to get all worked up over the slightest thing that was the GrammysTM but I really didn't care that much about the outrageous Lady Gaga and her remake of Madonna's Express Yourself.  Gaga is the new Madonna and for her generation not mine.  That's why I don't comment on her and her train wreck television.  I guess if I was impressed with anything it would have been Mick Jagger's appearance and cover of Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, the late Solomon Burke song.  We all figured that Cee Lo wouldn't win with Fuck You so NARAS did the next big thing and gave record of the year to The Arcade Fire in terms of surprise being thrown to us.   I'm sure the Alt rock crowd is head over heels over that.  It doesn't make a bit of difference to me,  Not into them nor this will make me go out and buy their album.  The Emenim folks are bitching for sure but again last I checked the sun came up this morning.  Life goes on.  Buy it or don't.

But then again, if  old hag Tawny Kitaen or Rosie O'Donnell is complaining about The Arcade Fire maybe I might buy it just to piss them off.  Moving on....

Lady Antebellum, when I reviewed their first album I had a vision that somewhere down the line that they would be the next big country thing and Capitol sat on their album a good six months after Love Don't Live Here was released as a single.  I still think that's their best song.  Need You Now has been on every type of radio format except rap and metal and anywhere you go, you cannot escape that song.  While some of the naive may think it's about a long lost love, if you take a closer look at the lyrics, it's more like a booty call.  In some ways it reminds me of the Police Every Step You Take, to which Sting sings like a stalker stalking somebody.  Need You Now is of the horny lonely babe, overtaken by memories and a good lay calling up the old flame to ring her bell.   That's how I perceive it, your opinion may differ.  If it's of good Public Relations from their PR personnel or the powers to be to keep it in radio rotation for the past year and half then it does deserve its song of the year status.  After all, Need You Now is forever entrenched in the playlist at KDAT till the end of time.  Just like Hey Soul Sister by Pat Monahan and Train which won a Grammy TM even though it came out in 2008.  And continues to grate on people's nerves ever since.  With the success of the two albums Lady Antebellum has put out, Hillary Scott has gone much further than her mom Linda Davis did in her country career.  Davis recorded for Liberty, Arista and Dreamworks in the 90s with some success.  But not like the breakout Lady Antebellum has had.  And I just found out that Davis is younger than I am.  Doesn't that make me feel old.

As for Esperanza Spalding?  Who is she?

So who won that mattered most to me?

Best Female Vocal Award-Miranda Lambert The House That Built Me
Best Pop Instrumental Performance-Jeff Beck Nessun Dorma 
Best Solo Rock Performance-Paul McCartney Helter Skelter
Best Rock Performance Duo-Black Keys Tighten Up
Best Hard Rock-Them Crooked Vultures-New Fang
Best Metal-Iron Maiden El Dorado
Best Rock Instrumental-Jeff Beck-Hammerhead
Best Rock Song-Neil Young-Angry World
Best Rock Album-The Muse-The Resistance
Best Alternative Album-The Black Keys-Brothers
Best Trad R & B-Johnny Legend & The Roots-Hang On In There
Best Alternative Urban-Cee Lo-Fuck You
Best R & B Album-John Legend & The Roots Wake Up!
Best Male Country-Keith Urban When Summer Comes Around
Best Country Instrumental-Marty Stuart
Best Gospel Rock Album-Switchfoot  Hello Hurricane
Best Gospel Country Album-Diamond Reo The Reason
Best Traditional Gospel Album-Patty Griffin Downtown Church
Best Americana Album-Mavis Staples You Are Not Alone
Best Bluegrass Album-Patty Loveless Mountain Soul 2
Best Tradtional Blues-Pinetop Perkins & Willie Big Eyes Smith-Joined At The Hip
Best Contemporary Blues-Buddy Guy-Living Proof
Best Comedy Album-Lewis Black-Stark Raving Black
Best Musical Album-American Idiot (featuring Green Day)
Best Compliaton Soundtrack Album-Crazy Heart
Best Recording Package-The Black Keys Brothers
Best Historical Album-The Beatles Original Studio Recordings
Best Engineered  Album-John Mayer Battle Studies
Producer Of The Year-Danger Mouse
Best Long Form Video-The Doors When You're Strange

Cee Lo Green's Fuck You Video.  Actually it's pretty good soul music.

The PG Version of Forget You

Friday, February 11, 2011

Music Of My Years-After High School 1979-1983

After the disco era dried up, the new wave took over for me and for the most part there was some new rock and roll to go with the classic rock favorites.  For the most part I kept an open mind an big selection of vinyl in my house.  For the most part I tend to pick up the CBS 5.98 series of new artists that they were touting and place to go was their 1980 Exposed 2 record set which sold for like 3 bucks and had artists like Ian Gomm, Adam & The Ants, The Romantics and many others.  Again label association was the reason why I bought and for Stiff album I did buy the New York based Dirty Looks, who 1980 Stiff/Epic is hard rocking new wave.

Some of the bands I discover was The Rockets who made some good to great albums on RSO and Elektra to which my favorite was 1982's Rocket Roll, which got zilch airplay.  And of course, the beloved Brains whose 2 albums and EP I still have to this day.  And of course that time I discovered Motorhead and No Sleep Till Hammersmith which gave us the filth and fury of Lemmy's three chord rock and roll turned up all the way to ten.  Foghat at that time was going for a more new wave sound although the reviews were getting bad I still thought that Zig Zag Walk is a fun listen.   About that time, REM was ready to take over the college music scene with Murmur but they wouldn't figure into my playlist three years later.  More about that in later blogs.

The decade was the changing of the guard, John Bonham died, Keith Moon died, Bon Scott ditto and Zeppelin broke up, The Who stumbled along with Kenny Jones and Robert Plant outdid Jimmy Page.  And Journey was getting BIG and BIGGER.  But in 1983 Jason & The Scorchers and Rank & File sowed the seeds of what would be cowpunk and later Americana.  My album play list is all over the place but it still showed that I was always open for good music.

In terms of remembering things, I think I remember more of my high school years more than the junior college years although I think I did more fucking off than preparing for the future with wasting many a time in the Kirkwood Broadcast Training booth and playing albums and wasting more time. The Kirkwood lounge had a great jukebox to which I could play Foghat's Love Zone over and over.  At that time I was working up at the old Marion 76 with my dad and we would be butting heads half the time.  Basically I was your typical do nothing brat that would spend all his money on video games at the arcade in Lindale Mall or hang at the record stores.  I did play in a part time band off and on but it seldom paid the bills.  Wednesday nights I'd be up at Skate Country on 2 dollar family night hanging out and skating around the rink a bit.  But as the decade progressed the free ride at home was just about over and it was time to go find another trade school and learn a trade and make a damn living.  It would and it would lead to the next part of our journey, the working years and the rise of garage rock and MTV.  

The Albums that mattered
Motorhead-Ace Of Spades, Iron Fist, Another Perfect Day, No Remorse
Dr. Feelgood-Case Of The Shakes
Nick Lowe-Nick The Knife,
Dave Edmunds-Twangin' DE 7th, Infomation
Rockpile-Seconds Of Pleasure
The Kings Are Here/Amazon Beach
Frank Marino-Tales Of The Unexpected, What's Next, Power Of Rock and Roll, Juggernaut 
Rockets-No Ballads, Back Talk, Rocket Roll
Robin Trower-Victims Of The Fury, Back It Up
Rainbow-Down To Earth
Black Sabbath-Heaven & Hell, Mob Rules, Born Again
Whitesnake-Ready N Willing, Live In The Heart Of The City, Come An Get It
Devo-Freedom Of Choice, New Traditionalists, Oh No It's Devo!
Dio-Holy Diver, The Last In Line
Yes-Drama, 90125
The Clash-London Calling
The English Beat-I Just Can't Stop It, What Is Beat?
Paul Collins Beat-The Beat, The Kids Are The Same
Gary Myrick & The Figures, Living In A Dream
Journey-Departure, Captured, Escape, Frontiers
Foghat-Tight Shoes, Girls To Chat & Boys To Bounce, In The Mood For Something Rude, Zig Zag Walk
Utopia-Deface The Music, Utopia, Trivia
Off Broadway USA-On, Quick Turns
Blue Oyster Cult-Cultosaurus Erectus, Fire Of Unknown Origin, Extraterrestrial Live, Revolution By Night
Graham Parker-Squeezing Out Sparks, The Up Escalator
Blackfoot-Strikes, Tom Cattin
20/20, Look Out!
Dirty Looks
Angel City-Face To Face, Dark Room, Night Attack, Two Minute Warning
Rank & File-Sundown
The Romantics, National Breakout, Strictly Personal, In Heat
Robert Plant-Pictures At Eleven, The Principal Of Moments
Van Halen-Women & Children First, Driver Down, Fair Warning
AC/DC-Back In Black, For Those About To Rock, Flick Of The Switch
Nantucket-Long Way To The Top
The Bus Boys-American Worker
XTC-Black Sea, English Settlement, Drums & Wires, The Big Express
Trio-Trio & Error
Jason & The Scorchers Fervor EP, Lost & Found, Still Standing
John Cale Comes Alive
Lou Reed-Blue Mask, New Sensations, Growing Up In Public
Danny Joe Brown & The Danny Joe Brown Band
Little Steven & Disciples Of Soul-Men Without Women
Asia, Alpha
Moody Blues-Long Distance Voyager
Chicago 14
REO Speedwagon-Nine Lives, Hi Infidelity
Gerald McMahon & Kid Lightning-Blue Rue
Bram Tchaikovsky-Funland, Pressure, Strange Man Changed Man
Fastway, All Fired Up
Nazareth-Malice In Wonderland, 2XS
Humble Pie-On To Victory, Go For The Throat.
Wire-154, Document & Eyewitness
The Specials, More Specials
The Brains, Electronic Eden, Dancing Under Streetlights EP
Badfinger-Say No More
Tom Waits-Heart Attack & Vine, Swordfishtrombones, Rain Dogs
Neil Young-Re Act Or, Trans, Everybody's Rockin
Jefferson Starship-Modern Times
Peter Townsend-Empty Glass
Molly Hatchet-Beating The Odds, No Guts...No Glory, The Deed Is Done
David Gilmour-About Face
Led Zeppelin-In Through The Out Door, Coda
Gary US Bonds-On The Line
Bruce Springsteen-The River, Nebraska, Born In The USA
The B'zz-Get Up
Micheal Stanley Band-You Can't Fight Fashion
ZZ Top-El Loco, Eliminator

Thursday, February 10, 2011

RIP Real Records

Another record store closed.  Yesterday the IC Press Citizen reported that Real Records in Iowa City already closed since Jan 31 will shut down forever end of February.  Although Craig said that he had other things going on with being a Grandparent and working at KCCK on his gig and lecturing at schools on music, he simply didn't have time to continue to maintain a record store.  Sounds like he will take his inventory to the internet after March 1.  Real Records has been part of my bargain hunting experience  with the original location next to the old Sweet Living Antiques Store then moving downtown Iowa City across the ped mall till 1998 when he took six years off and based it out of the Haunted Bookstore site.  Last year he had a 50 percent off used CDs which some were from his inventory and he got tired of having it store up space.  Managed to find some forgotten gems such as Best Of Bobby Goldsboro, The Jive Five United Artists Years and some Poco stuff on One Way including Blue & Gray.  I was kinda hoping to get down there one more time but cold weather and lack of transportation I couldn't make it.    Only Record Collector remains last record store standing in Iowa City.

The lack of quality music and crappy cd sounds and downloading from the internet has pretty much killed off the music stores that I used to get in the car and go to.  Last year at this point was the last day of the Coral Ridge FYE store and year before that Hastings in Ames got out of dodge.  To which the music lover has to deal with a lackluster and lesser CD selection at Best Buy or Wally World.  For the past eight years of music blogging, I have seen lotta well known stores go out of business or set up shop in the internet world.  Used to be we had at least 7 or 8 good music stores in town, now there's only 7 or 8 music stores in this area and most you have to drive to.   Craig Kessler mentioned that when he did a lecture at a school, he asked the kids if anybody bought a record and was greeted with blank stares.  And only a few bought a cd.  But the majority of them downloaded a song off the net.

The music era we knew and loved enough to truck down to the store for New Release Tuesday is done. While the music blogs tout more people buying vinyl records what they don't tell you is that the number sold isn't that great even if you lived within driving distance to a record store.  Vinyl is nice but it is twice more expensive than the actual CD but the sound is better and not OVERrecorded  as a CD nowadays.   But I can only go to Madison three times a year at most and if gas prices go higher that's going to be less.  Looks like we going have to take our chances of what's new at Half Priced Books, the only saving grace in a era of no music stores.

Best Buy did have some new music that they actually had and Teddy Thompson-Bella (Verve Forecast) might be Thompson's last shot for that label.  Four albums on Verve/Universal is considered by far one of the longest tenure at a major label and each album he has gotten better with the 2008's Piece Of What You Need his high water mark.  Teddy comes from a great music mom and dad with Linda and Richard Thompson but while never having the sardonic wit that his dad's songs are, nor the sweet irony voice of his mom, Thompson is more in tune with Rufus Wainwright in his vocals.  In fact Take Care Of Yourself he sounds like Rufus on the high end yodeling as he fights along with the strings for attention.   While All Music and others have called Bella Thompson's best, I think it's less consistent than Piece Of What You Need but rather a compromise of his 2004 Separate Ways  emotionalism along with the pop savvy of Piece and while high priced Producer David Kahne adds strings and polish to the songs, the murky and bassy over recording of Bella is painful to the ears.   Still if there was such a thing to Album Radio or the now defunct triple M format Thompson would get a well deserved hit with Looking For A Girl and country radio would benefit from The Next One.  But since the major label's promoting of new music is nil, this is basically sink or swim without Universal's help.  It's a shame really.  Teddy Thompson has been one of the few reliable new artists (meaning artists that recorded from 2000 onward) of the past decade that managed to stay on a major and have a following enough to do that.   Bella, while not as strong as Piece Of What You Need is a good enough album to justify the reviews of it.  It's too bad that Kahne decided to overshoot it by the bad mix.  Grade B

Motorhead-The World Is Yours (EMI 2010)  The one constant you get with Lemmy is that it's no bullshit 3 chords and rock and roll.  The World is Yours is no different but on this album it sounds like Lemmy is getting a tad bit bored with this roar.  He's kept the same producer/recorder for the past 5 albums and on this Cameron Webb adds a bit more mud to the mix and burys Mikkey Dee's drum so far back in the mix that you think that Dee was recording from the web and not Phil Campbell who did his guitar work via the net.  Technology today is wonderful.  Although there are some things worth listening again (Get Back In Line, Rock & Roll Music) the rest of the album roars by like a train in the night.  You hear it but you can't recall much of what you just heard.  But I still give it a B minus simply of the fact that Lemmy remains true to the power of 3 chords and rock and roll.  But unlike Motorizer or Kiss Of Death, I don't remember much of what I heard.  Maybe I am stone deaf.

Half Priced Books continues to get them in the used two dollar bins.  This big find was the complete 4 CD Eric Clapton Crossroads (But without the big book but I suppose I can live without that) for 8 bucks and the CDs were in fine shape.  Also for two bucks was Quiet Please, The New Best Of Nick Lowe (Yep Roc 2009) which starts at What's So Funny About Peace Love & Understanding from the Brinsley Schwartz days up to his last album At My Age.  It gives a better overall picture unlike Basher which half that album came from 2 albums Pure Pop For Now People and Labour Of Lust and the half from the other five Nick Lowe Columbia albums.  The Yep Roc, spreads most of the Columbia albums around, adds some Rockpile and Little Village numbers to boot and his Reprise Party Of One album before concluding with his Upstart/Yep Roc output.  Shows Nick going from Stiff Rocker to Pure Pop number to Soul Pop (via help from Paul Carrack) to eventually a middle of road rock/country that contradicts his Rockpile years.  Not to say it's a bad album, it's as complete as you can get but it does leave off key rocking tracks (Now And Always, Teacher Teacher, Love So Fine) in favor of more brooding solo stuff such as Endless Sleep and You Make Me which moreorless tells even back then Nick Lowe was looking more toward a easier groove than the all out punk pop of So It Goes or Heart Of The City.   With each of his albums of the 90s growing mellower and me being less interested, Quiet Please shows Nick doesn't have to rock out anymore, he can be comfortable in the country/pop of his later years.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Top Ten Of The Week-Oh Baby

Our other senior, William B and his wife welcomed a baby boy into his world on Thursday.  Basically he pretty much kept it hid from the rest of the working stiffs  so I imagine that he'll be gone for a couple weeks thanks to our company's wonderful maternity leave policy.  I think guys get two weeks off whereas the women get a full six weeks off.  So I guess we'll be losing our designated web-surfer for a while.  No word on what they named the boy but I think he wanted to name it Wesley, since his other son is Wyatt.  But that has met with stiff resistance.   They eventually settled on Landon Laine????  Gawd.  Congratulations anyway Billy.

I was very disappointed that the Jimi Hendrix box set had a truncated version of Little Richard's I Don't Know What You Got But It's Got Me so i started looking to the web for the complete 4:44 version of it.  I have the 45 but it's in poor condition and EBAY had 45's starting at 10 bucks and what I saw really don't appeal to me.  So I settled on a CD of Little Richard's Best Of The Vee Jay Years Volume 1 and it had the complete version of said song.  The best part of the song is hearing Richard work up to a frenzy at the last part of the song.  This remains a underrated and one of the best soul songs that Little Richard ever did but it stalled around #82 on the Billboard chart.   The CD was the cheapest of what was out there.  Fun fact:  Don Covay who wrote the song, sings background.  And of course Jimi Hendrix on guitar.  I would include it on the Top Ten but it's already been on there back in January.

And if anybody out there knows where I can get a copy of the 1953 novelty song One Beer by Chuck Murphy (Coral 9-61014) let me know.  Been trying to find a copy and EBAY don't have it and my dad's copy has seen much better days.  Probably 1953.

The Top Ten Of The Week:

1.  The Chain-Fleetwood Mac 1977  The first song that lead off the midnight hour at KKPT after the ending of Beaker Street and perhaps it was the station's backhanded compliment to Clyde that he shouldn't break the chain.  The chain of the overplayed classic rock that's killed many a song.  Nevertheless, this remains one of the highlights of Rumours, and I'm sure this song had more to do with the romance on the rocks of the McVies and Buckingham/Nicks rather than KKPT and Beaker Street parting of the ways.  I think everybody in high school had their own copy of Rumours.  I think a friend left this at my house and never came back for it.  Maybe I still have it somewhere..................

2.  Shot Down In The Night-Hawkwind 1979  If memory serves me well this was the first Hawkwind song I have ever heard and it off a compilation of bands for the now defunct Bronze Label (some of the bands were Motorhead, Uriah Heep, Angel Witch, Girlschool to name a few).  The album was called A Quiet Night In, and this song was a edit of the 7:42 song which was on their Live 79 album, which was only available as an import.   Supposedly, the highest charted single in the US but don't take my word for that.

3.  The Unknown Soldier-The Doors 1968  I gotta love my mom for finding me some interesting 45s in my childhood which has made me what I am today.  I know when we lived in Waterloo she bought me Hello I Love You at the old Ben Franklin (or was it Woolworth's?). So basically when we moved to Webster City later that year I became acquainted with the 4 for dollar bins at their Woolworth's and basically I played word association with what I saw for 45s.  Namely anything Doors or Jimi Hendrix or Steppenwolf got snapped up.  One day I found two Doors 45 that I bought, one was Love Me Two Times and then the other, this number. Freaking weird as a single and it wouldn't be released in this PC world of today.  Which is why the late 60s was the best times for music on 45.  Jim Morrison goes out in three parts about war, capture and execution of the unknown soldier. And then proclaims the war is over betwen ringing bells at the end.  I think the bells got left off the 45.  But then again I played this song so much that the grooves were worn off so I couldn't tell.

4.  The Impression That I Get-The Mighty Mighty Bosstones 1997  I suppose you can call them a one hit wonder although they were around a long time before they got this top ten hit.  Hell, their ska punk was around before No Doubt but No Doubt had the bigger hit with Don't Speak from Tragic Kingdom that came out a year before Let's Face It.  Kind of bizarre hearing this alongside Mister Mister or Kenny G on the soft rock catastrophe that is KDAT but they do from time to time.   It's just when I don't listen to KDAT.  The Bosstones sold a ton of Let's Face It, and the majority now in the dollar bins all across America.  Dicky Barrett went on to be MC/Sidekick to Jimmy Kimmel on Kimmel's late night show.

5.  Absolute Dissent-Killing Joke 2010  With Youth and Big Paul Ferguson back in town, Killing Joke's original lineup has made their first album together since the 80s and it does sound a bit like Hosannas From The Basement Of Hell although I think Bennie Calvert played more manic drums than Ferguson did but Big Paul pounds the hell out of the drums on this album.  The title track is a great lead off and it pretty much keeps things steady although I think side 2 of this album tends to drag a bit.  Nevertheless, when Killing Joke reunited back in 1993 they started making their best music and the high points remains the 2003 self titled with Dave Grohl setting in and then 2006's Hosanna's, the fitting finale to the career of Paul Raven.  The new KJ isn't bad but the production reminds me of 1995's Democracy; muddy and mirky.  Just the way Jaz Coleman likes it I gather.

6.  Must Of Got Lost-J. Geils Band 1974  I came across an old ad for Iowa Jam which used to be a big deal back in the 70's.  Where else could you see such notables as Foghat, or J.Geils Band or Johnny Winter sharing the bill, ya think Iron & Wine or The Strokes or Kings Of Leon would do that nowadays?  Oh yeah, Coachella.  Not the same.  Neither was J. Geils when they were playing their Detroit boogie blues via way of Boston sound and the old coot in me likes the Atlantic mid 70s period more than the new wave EMI albums that broke them big. 

7.  Wanted Man-Johnny Cash 1991  Later day recording for Mercury that didn't get much airplay but Johnny Cash still made pretty damn good country records after Columbia and before Rick Rubin.

8.  I Know Why-Phil Spector & The Spectors Three 1959  Another scratchy forty five that has been in my collection and found during a visit over my folks out.   Carol Connors from The Teddy Bears sings backing vocals on this song.  Sounds closer to The Fleetwoods to the wall of sound although there's plenty of echo in the background.  Co produced by Lee Hazlewood and Lester Sill to which Phil would co found Philles Records.  Can be found on You Tube if you look hard enough. However if you really want to hear it.

9.  Are You Happy-Iron Butterfly 1967  Long time ago Iron Butterfly's In da Gadda Da Vadda was the best selling album in Atlantic Records history before a certain band called Led Zeppelin rewrote the book on that and of course Hootie & The Blowfish in the 90's.  In other words a little case of hippy dippy for ya.  No need to thank me.

10.  Back On The Streets-Gary Moore 1978  RIP Gary.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Last Beaker Street Notes

Notes to the final Beaker Street on The Point.  Four years after the fact, Beaker Street is now history and will not return, unless you can find bits and pieces of it on You Tube and the net.  Even the website has been taken down.  The fun of it was seeing the playlist.  Clyde Clifford is enjoying his retirement.  From the archives, the final hour of the KAAY Beaker Street Show in 1985

I am listening to final Beaker Street Broadcast from The Point and the one thing I gotta say, is that the Point's streaming is Godawful.  Too tinny but I'll be posting off and on till the midnight hour and seeing what they bring up.
The big surprise is hearing the Yardbirds doing Dazed And Confused off the long discarded Live Yardbirds that Epic put out and added fake audience sounds in the background.  Only other time I heard this was off KUNI when Bob Dorr trotted it out one night.  He had a well worn copy of it.

We're not hearing any of the commercials from the point, just instrumental music.  Perhaps it's just as well.
The 10 PM showcased the full version of Steppenwolf's Monster from that album.  I remember getting the album from the Salvation Army years ago.  Basically you seldom ever hear the single version anyway.

Fresh Air from Quicksilver Messenger Service.  Another mainstay of Clyde's show.

Clyde is playing my request Jamie  Brockett's Legend Of The USS Titanic, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one requested that.  Next to Cindy's Crying by Deep Water Reunion it's one of the most requested song on Beaker Street.

Clyde has played a lotta latter day Emerson Lake And Palmer, Black Moon being one of them.  But then again I haven't paid much attention to ELP since their 1978 Love Beach.  Less said the better about that crapfest.

White Bird-It's A Beautiful Day another mainstay of the BB show.  IABD's albums would never stay in print thanks to Matthew Katz and his visit to the lawsuit store every other day.  Then again the most unlucky band still remains Moby Grape.

The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get gets a lot of airplay.,the lesser played that is.  Midnight Moodies/Happy Ways  another BB mainstay.  Of course I can tell this record gets played a lot due pops and scratches.

Time Has Come Today-The Chambers Brothers, Clyde is bringing out the heavy hitters.  Espeically the long 11 minute version of said song.  Of course the way things are going, Clyde is pretty much  going make me rewrite the next top ten of the week.  I never heard the full version till I bought the Best Of Chambers Brothers LP in 1977.

Locomotive Breath-Jethro Tull, that didn't become a hit till 1976 when it was put on the MU Best Of.  Bought the 45 which was an edited.  Originally on Aqualung, not of my favorite Tull albums but just my opinion.

Morning Dew-Tim Rose another BB mainstay though I haven't heard it much outside BB.  More familiar with the Lulu and Grateful Dead version but I did find Tim Rose's version from Rock Artifacts Volume 4, that compliation of music from the CBS/Sony Vaults. Oops Clyde threw a curve, he played the version from The Hour Glass.  Or was it the Allman Joys?  Don't see it on any Allman Brothers album.  Correction: The Tim Rose number on Artifacts Volume 4 was Hey Joe, not Morning Dew.

Stoned Cowboy-Fantasy 1970  One of those oddball 45s that I bought. Never heard the full 6 minute version till I heard on Beaker Street.  Seen the LP at Goodwill years ago but never bought it.  But while talking to somebody on Beaker Street Blog he mentioned he never heard the 45 version.  First time for everything. You wanna hear it?

2,000 Light Years From Home-one of the lesser known Rolling Stones selections that is another BS nugget.

Final song, The Circle Game Joni Mitchell.  First time I heard this, more familiar with the Tom Rush version.

On Gary Moore:  Long ago and far away I bought his 45 of Back On The Streets Again, the title track of his 1978 album released on Jet/CBS but I think he had better results when he played on the Black Rose-A Rock Legend album from Thin Lizzy, one of the most underrated albums of their career.  And he went on a decent career and at times had Ian Paice from Deep Purple playing drums on his first two Mirage/ATCO albums and later Cozy Powell would be the drummer for his After The War 1989 Virgin album.

But Moore's blues albums never took off on me.  He could play the blues but the his vocals were pedestrian at best and strained at his worst.  I thought when he started BBM with Jack Bruce and the grouchy Ginger Baker (supposedly Baker didn't care much for the loudness of Moore's guitar) he did fairly well and I liked Around The Next Bend which sounded more Cream than the Cream reunion of 2005.  He did managed to hang with Virgin Records till 2000 then took his act over to Eagle Rock for more blues records.  Special mention to his Blues For Greeny tribute to Peter Green to which Moore played Green's Gibson which Green gave to him.  Hard to figure that despite it all, Peter Green managed to outlived Gary Moore.  He will be missed.

On the subject of Black Eyed Peas at the Super Bowl:  Like every other band that has played there, The BEP's got slagged in tweets by about 10 to 1.  For that matter, I didn't comment much nor watched it myself, I ended up switching back and forth to Spike's TV 1000 Ways To Die, whereas my GF watched the BEPs and she liked the performance.  I did catch part of Fergie's take on Sweet Child Of Mine with Slash playing guitar but I never did like the GnR version much, nor Sheryl Crow.  The best version came from Luna from their forgotten Days Of Our Nights CD of the late 90s.  But if my GF says that BEPs rocked it, then take her word.
On the subject of Expanded Edition Of Classic Albums: Enough is enough.  The major labels aren't smart enough to develop rising artists anymore since they using their $$ to sue everybody and lobby in congress.  Their bright idea is to reissue and reissue with bonus tracks and then reissue things as a 2 CD set and charge big bucks for it.  I'm not a big fan of that, after all the original album release was the way it was intended to be.  Not add outtakes or 14 takes of one song or have a live bonus cd.  I also take a dim view of a label reissuing an album and retitling it, such as Train's Save Me San Francisco (Golden Gate Edition).  This is why CD sales are tanking even more every year.  The lack of good music coming out and their rehashing of the classic albums we grew up with.   Ever since Polygram got swallowed up by Universal the reissues have been Craphazard at best.  We can't seem to get Universal to reissue The Brains Money Changes Everything (the S/T album of 1980) but they can stick out pointless stuff like Us and Us Only-the subpar 1998 MCA album from The Charlatans UK, and I do like The Charlatans UK a lot.

Bob Lefsetz makes this prediction about new music from his latest blog.

We’re on the cusp of musical breakthroughs unseen since the late sixties.  Everything’s up for grabs.  You’re gonna be wowed, you’re gonna be moved by artists doing it their own way, following their own path, not worried about mainstream acknowledgment.

My reaction:  I Don't believe it.  Iron & Wine?  Don't get them.  Arcade Fire?  Not my type of music.  I haven't been wowed since 1997 and anything that did come out that was good came from bands I grew up listening to in the 70s or 80s.  The last CD that wowed me was The Randy Cliffs and that came out in 2003 for fuck's sakes. There's no such thing as black rock and roll anymore, they're too busy being rappers or gangsta or bad R and B.  Only thing that wowed me was The Roots but even I don't play them too often.  .The Black Keys are good at what they do but they're something I would play every day.  Peter Bjork and John I saw on Conan O'brien and my reaction was more WTF than this rocks.  In fact, I don't think there's much out there today that rocks like it did 10 or 20 or even 30 years ago.  While the new hip critics bash away at the boogie bands of the past.  Foghat still remains on my player and I am still proud to say I am a Foghat fan just as my GF is a Black Eyed Peas fan.  Both bands serve a purpose even though the hip youngsters perfer a Iron & Wine or The Decemberists or Peter Bjork & John.  But for those who still like to hear three chords and the truth or a love song, we have not been getting it at all in life after 1999 although Airbourne has come close to the sex, drugs & rock and roll side of things.

Music done right should mean a fun time rather than attacking my eardrums and making me that much more deaf.  It takes a lot to wow me in the music department.  And I have not been wowed at all.

Just saying.

UPDATE: The swiss label Black Rills has The Fantasy CD listed on their reissue file but I'm not sure if this is legit to get it.  Black Rills is hard core in terms of forgotten kraut rock and forgotten bands that only I remember (or you too).

Fantasy/Same. CD 25.-. USA, 1970 + 4 bonus tracks. We proudly present a treasury for everyone into music in style Julian Jay Savarin! All material of the band on one CD. Fantasy was formed in 1967 in Miami and was comprised of 5 teenagers, Billy Robbins (Lead Vocals), Bob Robbins (Bass), Jim DeMeo (Guitar), Mario Russo (Keyboards), and Greg Kimple (Drums). Fantasy started out playing at teen dances and graduated to performing at The Experience, a Miami underground hippie hangout.  From 1967 through 1970 the band, led by its charismatic young singer Billy Robbins, was developing a following. In 1968 The Experience closed its doors and morphed into Thee Image, a large converted bowling alley which featured the biggest artists of the day.  Fantasy was chosen as the house band and every weekend they found themselves on the bill with the likes of Cream, Grateful Dead, The Doors, Steppenwolf, Iron Butterfly, Frank Zappa and Led Zeppelin to name a few.  The bands regional popularity was soaring when tragedy struck. In the Summer of 1970, Fantasy’s lead singer Billy Robbins was found dead. Several months later the band began its search for a new singer, settling on a 16 year old female vocalist Jamene Miller. Where Billy Robbins was all charisma, Jamene was all talent.  She got on board and the Fantasy train kept a rollin’. It was only a matter of months before the band signed a manager and hooked up with the Liberty/United Artists record label  This album/CD, is the first and only true Fantasy album. It is a pure and honest testimonial to its time. Black Rills BRR CD 014.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Crabb's Observations Of The Week-Prog Pop Bands, My Space Etc.

On the subject of

Spam Mail:
Seems like the Spam Commenters like to throw things in the Jock Itch Jams Blog touting drugs & Viagra and whatever is bad for you.  This is why we approve things otherwise I would have 20 comments of absolute bullshit and nothing to do with the songs.  Put some thought in them and I may consider them.  Everytime I see a spam comment I pretty much know where the blog it's coming from.

Prog Rock and the lesser known:
Was reading TAD's blog on the new Prog rock book he was reading and it sounds like any book out there.  It's good in some subject, ignorant on others.  It's hard to figure what passes for Prog rock once you get past the usual suspects.   As for Camel, I didn't know anything about them till I picked up a copy of their 1984 Live Pressure Points at a Las Vegas pawnshop and then from time to time bought some when i seen them (Rain Dances, Nude). For US prog rock Kansas is best known, and Styx  is number 2 although by the time Tommy Shaw joined they were more pop rock then prog rock and after Equinox their records were spotty at best.  Didn't like Crystal Ball very much, Grand Illusion had Miss America and the title track and overplayed Come Sail Away and not much more.  Pieces Of Eight was better although I haven't listened to it when the cassette player ate the cassette tape of that and got off the bus on Cornerstone.  If they were prog rock it would be the Wooden Nickel albums (to which you can get in a complete 2 CD set from Hip O) but once they signed on to A&M they had an eye on the top forty chart and adapted according to plan.  And forever lost their Prog Rock cred with the wedding song Babe.

In the late 70's Epic signed Starcastle, a band that came from Illinois and boasted ex REO lead singer Terry Littell.  Starcastle was the closest thing the US ever came to having a band sound like YES and their first album echos plenty of The Yes Album, and is the only prog rock album to be recorded in Pekin Illinois.  And despite the odds, Sony Music still has it in print. Littell was a screamer in REO Speedwagon but in Starcastle he sounded just about like Jon Anderson.  Resulting albums Fountains Of Light and Citadel, which Roy Thomas Baker produced showed them to be pretty good in the YES soundalike department & they were damn good musicians and their own way.  But by 1979, their record label forced them to go a more radio ready (we want hits translation) and Real To Reel was the result.  Perhaps Epic Records way of trying to turn Starcastle into REO Speedwagon but the band has disowned this record and refused to put up song downloads on their website.  Real To Reel wasn't that bad of an album if you like pop rock of that time, in some ways it reminds me of Prism, the Canadian Prog Pop Band that made five albums for Ariola/Capitol in the late 70s.  But Real To Reel wasn't a prog album.  It was a pop album through and through, it didn't sell and Epic dropped Starcastle soon afterward.  Renassiance Records has issued the other Epic albums but beware, they're on CD R and the cover art is poorly Xeroxed.

The other Epic Band of note was Trillion to which their first album was produced by Barry Mraz (Styx) and featured future Toto vocal replacement Fergie Fredericksen and their music was a combination of Styx keyboard to YES like guitars, Fergie's vocals a combo of Geddy Lee/Tommy Shaw.  Bought the album didn't like it much, Fredericksen's vocals were not for me.  Thom Griffin replaced him on 1980's Clear Approach and it was much better, with Make Time For Love which graced the outer top 100.  But I wouldn't call Clear Approach a prog rock album, it was more in line with the music of Journey and Kansas Audio Visions era. I think I bought Clear Approach just for the cool cover art.  Trillion broke up after Epic dropped them.  Fredricksen would appear on albums by LeRoux (All Fired Up) & Toto (Isolation), but Patrick Leonard, the keyboard player would go to produce such notables as Madonna, Peter Cetera and The Outfield and team up with Kevin Gilbert in the underrated Toy Matinee which made a decent prog pop album for Reprise.  Then hooked up with Richard (Mr. Mister) Page in 3rd Matinee.

My Space
Five Years ago, I started blogging over there and for the first year or two My Space was a good place to keep up on friends and such.  The cool Mingles folks that managed to keep in touch rather than go bed jumping.  Keeping in touch with some of The Roosties.  Checking out cool bands.  And keeping in touch with friends in town.  Things went to the toilet after News Corp bought My Space and countless problems made me pull the plug over there.  The new and improved My Space is a joke.  I posted a link to this site and if you access it from My Space, the My Space Nazi's call it spam.  Fed up, I told whoever's left in there to google R S Crabb and then choose the right site.  Third from the top.  In the coming weeks I'm going to try to save the best of the blogs over them and incorporate them over here.   I think some of the old gang have been reading them and it's great to once again chat with Starman and The Real Brooksie on music, just like the old times in chat, before  things got too political over there. 

I suppose with a bit more promoting I could have build this site up to be the Best Damn Place For Music Talk but I tend to go off subject when something else crosses my mind.  I try not to rant and rave like I did in the old days and in the old MSN Groups, basically there's too much negative and sensationalism in the news and in the music department so I try to keep things as simple and as user friendly as possible.  If I feel a need to show my Torrette's Syndrome I take it over to Twitter. and of  course a record review although it's hard to tell you to buy an album or avoid it in 180 characters or less.  Besides, politics tend to get me in trouble anyway.

The Weather This Week:
Yeah we got 16 inches of snow here but it was straight snow and nothing icy or rain to it.  Naturally, I did managed to dig myself out of the driveway although I'm getting sick and tired of the below zero weather that we have been getting since December.   I think we're more into a new ice age than global warming myself.  But really can do without the extreme weather.  After all, it could be worse.

Big issue was that the guys practiced without Joe Perry in tow but Joe Perry tweeted that he had prior dealings and couldn't make it.  I love Aerosmith just as much as the other guy or y'all but I think they really need to come up with their own stuff and not rely on outside songwriters such as Marti Fredericksen or Desmond Child and (God Forbid) Diane Warren.  Last group effort was Done With Mirrors (1985) which may have been more jam than actual songs but I actually like that over the rest of their Geffen and Columbia albums although Honkin On Bobo was fairly consistent.   I guess the Steve Lillywhite sessions didn't fare very well.  Hell, Joe Perry released more new albums than Aerosmith did the last five years.  Would I buy the new Aerosmith if it came out?  I donno, I didn't on 9 Lives or Just Push Play but I did on Bobo and the Rockin The Joint Live album.  But I'm beginning to think that they are the US Rolling Stones, making so so albums and charging up a storm playing live.  I think I trust Joe Perry a lot more than the Toxxic Twins together.

Bargain Hunting In February:
The weather hasn't helped and I can't get our mechanic to get the car fixed so haven't ventured out to Dubuque at all and went to Iowa City once in December.  The long term forecast looks to be cold and below zero at nights and basically it's not a lotta fun driving in the cold anyway.  So looks like it's the weekend at Half Priced Books and checking out Goodwill.

The big finds seems to be the boxset of Merle Haggard from Time Life, 4 CDs for 14.98 is a steal.  I guess Time Life has also sent out The History Of Bluegrass, and the History Of Folks Music Box sets as well for the same price.  Don't know how Half Priced Books been getting them but The Merle Haggard and The Bluegrass History box sets are bargains.  For vinyl, HP Books have been getting some great vinyl reissues across the pond with John Entwistle Smash Your Head Against The Wall for 14 bucks vinyl (somebody bought it) Live at The Roxy Volume 1 (The UK Roxy and not the LA Roxy) and A Quiet Night IN....originally on Bronze and featuring choice cuts from Hawkwind, Motorhead, Uriah Heep for 8 bucks.  Actually I still have the Bronze Import vinyl in my closet and I think I paid 15 bucks for it years ago.  First time I got introduced to Hawkwind with their biggest US hit Shot Down In The Night.   Still Half Priced Books has been getting some great cutouts from the Fantasy Jazz label and plenty of Time Life Cutouts that the guy up there gets bored and throws them in the 2 dollar bins when they don't sell.  Which is where I found The Spinners' Pick Of The Litter.  Nobody wanted to pay 6 bucks for it, so they marked it down to two and guess who bought it?    Looking for bargains is fun.

Beaker Street Farewell?
Sunday Night Clyde Clifford will conclude his Beaker Street Show on The Point.  So far, no word on if Beaker Street will be picked up somewhere else and I haven't seen anything new from the Beaker Street website.  However I remain hopeful that it will return somewhere and if not Clyde, please play Ballad Of The USS Titanic one more time before you turn out the lights please?