Saturday, July 30, 2011

MTV 30 The Big Whoop

Long time ago, I was working at the old Marion 76 on 7th Avenue next to Audi's.  Somehow, Bill the owner managed to pick up one of those satellite dishes and at times they would watch it when business was slow (which wasn't too often, we were quite busy).  Nevertheless one afternoon, I came across a cable channel that played music videos.  Music video was kinda rare although the old cable network SPN showed something called Video Concert Hall which did show some early videos, which was how I discovered Split Enz I Got You. But this new cable channel promised to show music videos 24 hours a day and it was called MTV and once I seen it, I was hooked and got into plenty of trouble from the boss and my dad to get the fuck back to work.

MTV back then, was tailored made for the music freak that was me.  Although there wasn't that many videos, many were played by forgotten bands although I think the first hour of MTV they played 3 Bells In A Row by Tenpole Tudor, a band that recorded for Stiff Records and if anybody recorded for Stiff Records they had to be good right?  Dr. Feelgood Jumping From Love To Love anybody?  That was on Stiff USA.  Even the Plasmatics featuring Wendy O Williams was on that label.  The thing about MTV was they showed a lot of concert clips from Foghat, Journey and Rush.  There was no Madonna and Michael Jackson was still recording Thriller.

Everybody who grew up in that era knew the 5 VJ's. Nina Blackwood, the late great J J Jackson, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter and of course everybody's darling Martha Quinn.  While MTV begin to take off, our cable company would not add it till two years later September 1983.  By then Thriller was out and they were playing the mini movie every hour on the hour, Madonna and Billy Idol ruled the waves and Men At Work were introduced to us.  But there were the lesser knowns that stood out for me. Flaming Desire by Bill Nelson, Fastway's Tell Me.  But in the early 80s Saturday MTV would put out the concert of the night, Sunday there was London Calling and later 120 Minutes.  Saturday Nights the concert series got replaced by The Headbanger's Ball, MTV attempt to show metal videos. 

In a attempt to showcase more of the non cutting edge videos, in 1985 VH1 was born.  One of the shows that stood out was the Jazz show hosted by Ben Sidran and I recall seeing Enya doing a song in 1988.  Farm Aid was also shown on that channel, whereas MTV showed the Live Aid in 85.  But the original 5 VJ's would eventually leave and move on to other things.  MTV developed some dance show featuring Downtown Julie Brown and Miss Julie Brown, whose responsible for such hits as I Like Them Big And Stupid and Because I'm A Blond came on board.  Still fun but I related more to the Headbanger's Ball and 120 Minutes rather than the Dance Mix Show of DT Julie. 

I think the 10th Anniversary of MTV Martha Quinn hosted the majority of that weekend and MTV showed the first hour of videos. But in essence MTV was killing the video star with lame crap reality BS as The Real World or the puke inducing Road Rules.  Mike Judge revolutionized animation with Beavis & Butthead which originally appeared on Liquid Television, an interesting show of animated shorts.  But even in 1993 MTV was beginning to shy away from music videos and even though I got my news from MTV Week In Review. with the stuffy Kurt Loder at least we were somewhat being kept up on the music news that meant a lot to me.

When I escaped to my new place of residence, MTV was not available till 1997 and by the time we finally got it here, they played hardly any music videos but rather reality garbage thus changing the M from music to Moron TV.  By then, Headbangers Ball, 120 Minutes were a thing of the past and none of the VJ's I could relate or know who the fuck they were except the odious Kennedy Montgomery.  VH1, the alt channel was even worse, they became a 2nd rate garbage channel with crap from the likes of Flavor Flav, I Love New York, and Basketball Wives, it too has become unwatchable.  Only time I do watch it is if I want to see The Temptations movie, which VH1 shows at least once a weekend per month.  Most of the watchable shows moved over to VH1 classic to which our cheap assed cable company will not let us watch unless we want to pay an extra hundred dollars a month to the the channels of the watchable shows we used to watch on MTV or VH1.  MTV2 supposedly a replacement for MTV has become a crap station as well but we are spared of watching that one.

To celebrate 30 years ago of when MTV was relevant and cutting edge, you have to watch VH1 Classic to see what MTV was like.  It won't be on MTV, they're not into music anymore and it's not my channel anyway.  Today's MTV is Jersey Shore or Pregnant and Sixteen or Teen Mom, one of the two and I don't give a fuck about either one.  I don't give a fuck about MTV or VH1 anymore today of the fact that neither one is how I remembered them when they were good. And showing music videos and giving us some reason to go to the record store.  MTV and VH1 doesn't have anything to offer me, I certainly can't get into Snooki or New York or whatever the hell is on VH1.  Sometimes I'll take a peek of when MTV does show a music video after 2 AM but mostly what I see is soft porn that would make Adina Howard blush.

If your one of the lucky ones to get VH1 classic, you can sit back and see how it was 30 years ago.  But if you're like me and stuck with this MTV (Moron, Mindless, Musicless), you have more entertainment with it off.

I don't want this MTV.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Crabb Updates: Rozanna Pusateri, Dubuque rainfall. Mike Eldred Trio, CCM Redux, CR Drive Ins, Starman

The cycle is complete.  Dennis Pusateri's mom Rozanna has joined the rest of the family. She died Tuesday at age 75 of a short illness but I'm sure a broken heart was the cause too.

 Amy Winehouse left her ex husband out of her will but her family and brother will benefit greatly.  Rastro's on Tumblr. Thought I'd pass it on for y'all to read.

We started out the month in a two week drought, only to have record rainfall in Dubuque last night. An ungodly 15 inches of the fucking wet shit inundated theKey City and for a time both US 20 and US 151 were under water due to raising water.   Down here in my neck of the woods, I think we got about an inch of it but thankfully the heavy rain crap stayed north and east of here.  However, once again the folks on the North Fork of The Maquoketa are getting fucking tired of this flood shit.  They have had at least a flood for the past three years there.  This is why I hate rain and I hate this state.  Rains too GD fucking much in the summer.

And on a related note, our wonder GOP governor Terry  Branstad vetoed funds for rebuilding Lake Delhi.  This is what you get when you revoted for him.  Sorry kids.

At the end of the month, the ratings jumped twofold with our latest blog on Alternatives and for the first time in two months replaced Rock N Roll N The Brains blog site for the week.  Which gives me hope that you folks out there are catching up on the latest news and views from Da Crabbmeister.  It also ensures us that we will be over 1,000 views for the second straight month. Maybe we are up and coming.  The Alternatives was meant to be a different take on the music that is out there and certainly there's so much to consider for ten spots.  And it's an attempt to get the open minded reader other examples of what's out there besides Smoke On The Water or Sweet Home Anamosa. Money doesn't rule the Crabb Top Ten cuz we don't have money to throw around.  It is me trying to turn people on to something that's new and true to the rock and roll blues style that I grew up listening to. 

When I do a top ten, it's basically songs from cd's or vinyl that I have been playing and I document it.  Is it easier just to name albums rather than songs? Perhaps it is and most of the time the weekly ten doesn't make a lot of waves although the faithful do comment.  But once in a while, I'll post a band or song and it will get back to the guys in that band and they make a comment themselves.  Which is why this can be fun.  I noticed a lotta views came from keywords and one big constant came from Mike Eldred Trio, whose 61 and 49 CD is a must hear, one of the best albums in a dismal, throwaway year.  And I was flattered and very humbled when Mike mentioned my blog in his FB place.  And offered up a T shirt for showing his appreciation.   In an era to which the major labels don't nurture and give a band two or three albums for them to evolve and get better, the majors usually get rid of a band if the record stiffs.  They're too busy looking at the bottom line or screaming for singles or more auto tuner.   I wouldn't say the music scene is dead but it's on life support condition critical.  I used to buy and review about 100 new releases per year, now it's down to around 65 or 70 and most are old classic rock bands that I grew up listening to, or music found in the cheap bins at the local pawnshop.  Back in June, I found a bunch of new releases from the likes of Too Slim & The Tailgators, Jimmie Thackery, Joe Jackson, and  the tribute to Ian Stewart CD and Mike Eldred Trio all in the same day and while all of them were worthwhile, the album I came back to was 61 to 49 from Eldred.

What I came to find that not only this record was excellent, I found myself playing this more than I did than the new Steve Earle, or Hot Tuna or Yes. Although the new George Thorogood album I like, head to head 61 to 49 gets the nod due to Eldred playing some hot blues and varying styles from ZZ Top slow cooker to my favorite song of the album For A Girl which had me thinking Greg Allman was guest singing on that. (Sorry Mike if you're reading this, I ended up getting a Toy Caldwell album that Allman did guest sang on that cd).  And there's not a single throwaway track on it.  Look, it's simple.  I cannot identify and rock out to Bon Iver or whatever Lady Gaga is playing or most of the so called new rock bands out there but it's albums like 61 and 49 by The Mike Eldred Trio that is my type of music.  Some good old rock and roll, some old boogie blues and straight blues played into a nifty album to drive to work to. Or rocking out at home.  Fact of the matter is that 61 and 49, the album will sound good 10 years from now and even 50 if I'm still around.  Here's hoping the general public will play it if they can get a copy.  Try CD Baby or Amazon if you don't have a decent record store around.  Best Buy is bare bones and unreliable.

This month, I made a comment about Collector's Choice Music.  A lot of people out there have had problems getting their order shipped out to them but I'll be happy to say that I ordered four cds from them on the 15th of this month and they shipped two cd's on Saturday and I got the rest yesterday, which was the Fats Domino Fats CD and Hog Heaven which was The Shondells without Tommy James for 5.98.  And I paid them by check.  And once again CC Music came through for me.  But I still think that they will shut down the CCM Music label of reissues since there hasn't been any new reissues since Gordon Anderson left.  I think in terms of getting stuff from Wounded Bird or Ace UK, Collector's Choice Music will still come through.  Your results might vary.

Drive In Trivia:  Cedar Rapids had four of them at one time.  The Twin West on 6th St survived the longest but they were history by around 1987.  In my area we had the Twixt Town Drive In, which actually showed R rated movies in the early 70s before new owners made it more family friendly.  Got to see Up In Smoke out there along with the crappy Looking For Mr. Goodbar in 78.  The Drive In closed around 81 and sat idle for a couple years before developers bought it down in place of a strip mall that gave us the original location of Best Buy (Boooooooooo, Hissssssssssssssssssss).  Half Priced Books is now where the back of the Drive In used to be.  Long time ago, you can actually watch the movie about a few blocks away.  Down the road was the Collins Road Drive In and I used to go there and sat out in the Happy Joe's Parking Lot and watch movies while playing the cassette player around the late 70s.  That too closed around 85.  Final drive in of note was the Cedar Rapids Drive In, nestled over by the K-Mart Parking Lot West.  Not much is known about that drive in and Drive Ins dot com has no information about it.  However, further research showed it opened sometime in 1948 and was the place to go to on the west side before the infamous 1965 Palm Sunday Tornado brought the screen down and they demolished it around 1969.  Some fun trivia that might be worth reading someday.

And finally, congratulations are in order for my chat buddy Starman out in Spokane who is getting married this week to his sweetheart.  I think they have been going together for a few years.  All the best and I miss you and your viewpoints Starman bro while talking tunes on those late Friday Nights into early Saturday Morning. Yes I know, we don't do that anymore.  But we sure had a wonderful time when we did........

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Top Ten Of The Week-Alternatives

Coming to the end of month and another death to report.  Dan Peek who was part of America and gave us the top 50 hit Don't Cross The River passed on.  He left the band to become a gospel artist and had some success. He was 60.

Coming to the end of this dismal month,  we started the month blistered by the sun and the last four days of fucking monsoons that turned everything brown to green and cussing out Mother Nature as the grass grew.  With Nicole now in town, I spend the weeknights here at the Crabbhouse and the weekend over there with the exception of watching Chloe The Wonderdog when the GF goes in early.  She's finally got the cable and internet installed so I can now get to somewhat of a normal life.  She's been here two months and it still feels like a blur.  So far she's out-brought me at Half Priced Books but Madison is in the future and I'm sure something will be found up there music wise.

Which leads us to the end of Borders but the beginning of Books A Million who announced they will take over the spot left behind by Borders at around October or early November.  I wouldn't mind seeing a Half Priced Bookstore in their neighborhood, or even in Davenport although the manager of that Borders is trying to convince Books A Million to take a chance on the Quad Cities.  With the final chapter of Borders, there will be other bookstores that remain in business.  Will the Mom and Pop bookstore make a return? Hell I don't know, I'm still waiting for a mom and pop record store to return to Cedar Rapids.  And if vinyl is making this great big comeback as the internet sites are saying, how come there's not a vinyl store in my area?

This week's top ten goes a little bit further than the big hits that you hear on Classic rock radio but basically I always considered this website and the top ten the alternative to the overplayed, even though I've stuck a overplayed on the top ten.  When TAD made his alternative playlist, he added a few of the lesser known although any station that plays Led Zeppelin have been known to play When The Levee Breaks but they never do Tea For One or Baby Come On Home.  In the meantime, I came across this bit of bullshit via Bob Lefsetz on the defense of pop music and this guy's lack of knowledge of rock and roll.  Read and puke on your own free will.

Let's face it, rock music as we grew up with isn't played on radio anymore, I mean the new rock and roll.  Have you heard the new Queensryche LP on the radio?  The latest from The Smitereens?  New YES?  I know I haven't.  I have heard the Neil Young A Treasure on public radio.  But not the new Hot Tuna, nor Black Country Communion on the radio.  It's all the same folks and the good rock and roll of today isn't on radio but rather on You Tube or the net radio.  Basically the world is stuck with crap radio, overplayed radio and money talks radio.  Alternative radio died when Kurt Cobain did.  And Modern Rock and Real Rock and Alternative Rock may as well be The Same Thing Rock Radio.

Look, I am alternative in the songs that I play at home and in the car.  Or when Nicole is sleeping on the couch getting to hear Captain Beefheart sing her to sleep.  Or Dorothy Arby's  electric harp.  Or the prog rock Cafe Jacques (so they say) or Starcastle which gets ridiculed by the anti prog folks or calling them YES imitators.  I seek out the alternatives cuz I'm bored with radio, bored with what SPIN or Rolling Stone or Pitchfork touts as the next big thing for rock and roll.  If I really want alternative, then I'll stick in a Latin Jazz album.  How's that for alternative?

I know my good buddies from blogspot, Rastro, Drew and TAD have their very own of the lesser known. And so do I.  I only do it, cuz I grew up in a radio era that soul and rock and country and pop was played at the same time.  And then we went out and bought 45s in the budget bins, used 45 jukebox singles and what was found in those 10 for a dollar prepackages that K Mart used to have around 1971.  I grew up with name association. Which is how I discovered Ray Charles, Tommy James, Steppenwolf, Doors, Hendrix in the four for a dollar bins at Woolworth's and Arlens.   And then the narrow minded of myself discovering Record Realm and Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe and Rockpile or XTC or the weird odd sounds of Tangerine Dream on imports.

I'm not sure if the term alternative is the term but rather lesser played.  Sure Bill Withers Lean On Me is the classic but consider the alternative songs would be Grandma's Hands or Who Is He (And What Is He To You).  Overplayed Lynyrd Skynyrd Free Bird to the Alternative song Double Trouble.  Overplayed: Marshall Tucker Can't You See, alternative: This Old Cowboy.  You get the picture.  My alt also includes forgotten bands that never made it, bands that albums were promo only or beeline to the clearance bins.  And although my most view blog deals with The Brains, a band that was poorly served by their label, other bands that I care enough are Big Back Forty, Mach Five, The Dylans, Sand Rubies and countless more.  Or throw in a jazz number from Dave Brubeck or Monk or Coltrane.  Or add some country Buck, George hell even Brad Paisley if time and space allowed.  And still find time for the classic rock bands still out there. Cars, Yes, Rush and Aerosmith figure in this.  Perhaps Van Halen or Chickenfoot.  My hobby is to find the music yet to be discovered.  Appently somebody must feel the same way since I've seen a lotta hits from people looking up Mike Eldred Trio.  Money is fine but I would love more time to listen to all my faves.

And not the same old same old turds on the radio.

The Top Ten Of The Week:

1.  Shine On-Peter Frampton 1976  I hate to say this folks but I have never owned Frampton Comes Alive which probably makes me a freak.  This album made Peter and it broke him at the same time.  Sure the royalty checks keep coming in since out there in Mega Money Radio Land Show Me The Way or Baby I Love Your Way or Do You Feel Like We Do is being played and basically I'm sick of hearing them all.  So I go for the B side of Show Me The Way to which got some airplay, but since Cumulus Radio blacklisted this number which appeared on Humble Pie's Rock On album, the Frampton live version is a bit more livelier and fun.  But then again, I've never owned Dark Side Of The Moon either.  BTW, Frampton will appear at one of the Casinos here to play the whole set list of Frampton Comes Alive 35 Years Later.  Side note: Frampton got raked over the coals on the followup I'm In You which isn't as wretched as the Sgt Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band movie that appear a year later and Frampton become a bad punch line.  Still made some decent albums for A & M and Atlantic and other labels before returning to A & M Universal for the pretty good Thank You Mr. Churchill last year.  But the money wants F.C.A.

2.  West Coast Woman-Painter 1973  This was one album that I never thought would see the light of day on CD but I did remember the 45 being played by the other AM station in Cedar Rapids KLWW to which people liked better than KCRG to which I prefer KCRG to KLWW. due the latter's poor reception after 8 PM.  Not much is known about this band but to me they sounded a lot like Poco or Eagles with a cross of Uriah Heep Over The Top Vocals.  Came out on Elektra and Wounded Bird reissued it despite some of the most lackadaisical liner notes ever penned. Yep all tunes on that album was written by members of the band but Wounded Bird was too damn lazy to look up who wrote what.

3.  I'm Alive-Mach Five 1998  Another band that managed to get a record out on Island before Polygram got sold to Universal and this band was never heard from again.  I read a review from the so called bass player saying that Mach Five sounded a lot like the Stone Roses but I hear more Del Amitri than the former.  Billboard had a nice write up on this song calling it a potential hit and it would have fitted right at home on Mix 96.5 or KOKZ when they were doing the 90s.  Nevertheless their only album can be found in the cheap bins at any thrift or pawnshop.

4.  Tommy The Cat-Primus 1991  Gotta add this one tune in and dedicated to the dude at CDs 4 Change who reminded me that Primus has a new album out and they'll be up in Madison and couple other places.  Got to see Les Claypool opened up for Rush in 94 and it a lotta fun.  The studio version features none other than Tom Waits as Tommy The Cat. Primus is not for everybody but when I find myself in that kind of mood I'll pull it out.  At least the dude up there was playing some decent music, the tattooed lady at Moondog Music was playing some GD rap crapola.

5.  Samba De Sausalito-Santana 1973  From Welcome, which is as alternative as it got for Carlos Santana.  Taken from the Latin Jazz Ritmo De la Noche (rhythm of the night) comp cd that I got at Borders for 20 percent off.  This might be my fave track off the forgotten Welcome LP that I may have redonated back to Goodwill since I didn't care much for the rest of that album.

6.  Jimmy Jimmy-Mike Eldred Trio 2011  Given the fact that in the search field that over 10 views came from fans of Mike Eldred or perhaps the man himself, I saluted them by adding one more track off his new album 61 And 49 which is on Zoho Records and good luck finding it at your local Wally World.  A given fact of the matter that this is considered alternative music since nobody plays the blues rock like they used to.   As I inch closer to retirement from new music, it's always refreshing to find a album that gives me some hope that good rock and blues will continue to be released somewhere in the Corporate Money World of Radio.   Side note: everytime I do look up a search of Mike Eldred Trio, I don't see none of my blogs on any of the top four or five pages.  But rest assured 61 And 49 will be in my top five albums of 2011.  Side note 2: Mike Eldred is the real deal and hold his fans in high regard.  Which is why I do the top ten, sometimes I get responses from the artists themself!  Thanks Mike!

7.  Thank You For Talking To Me Africa-Sly & The Family Stone 1971  Ain't no hot fun in the summertime or dance to the music on this one kiddies.  In fact this may be the most fagged out classic album that has ever graced the all time 100 best albums ever list.  I finally managed to buy this CD at the Borders End Of Days Sale and still do not know what to think of this.  Guess you can call it a classic.  Once upon a time Bob Dorr found a scratched up copy of this song and played it on Backtracks.  Somehow that's the best way of hearing There's A Riot Goin On, a very scratched up copy, gives it more meaning I think.

8.  I Don't Feel Like Dancing-Scissor Sisters 2006  Alternative music today is something to this effect. While they got some press and airplay these 70's pop loving dudes managed to get Elton John to write and play on this song and it may have been heard a couple times on the radio.  Their first album showed a fond love of The Bee Gees and disco drums but album number two shows them aping EJ's Simple Man and reviews were mixed at best before returning halfway for the better Night Work album of last year and found as a import for less at Half Priced Books rather at Best Buy.  They never really topped their best known hit, Tits On The Radio.  And so it goes.

9.  Mississippi Moon-King's X 1996  Atlantic gave up on them on the delightful Ear Candy which had a minor hit with this song which enticed me enough to go seek out the CD at the old CD's Plus store in Coralville on break.  Think it caught me offguard since it was Ty Tabor doing lead and not Doug Pinnick.  King's X remains one of the best bands who made great albums but never really hit the big time.  I also remember some now out of work smart mouth DJ at Rock 108 making fun of the next album Tape Head, playing a 10 second snippet of one song before going into some nu-metal garbage.  King's X continues to make music, whereas Smart Mouth DJ is probably working at Road Ranger.  Wounded Bird reissued Ear Candy but I'm sure they halfassed on the artwork and liner notes as well.  Can't get too down on them, after all they do a good job reissuing the albums that Rhino nor Warner Music Group would do on their own.

10.  Gray Riders-Neil Young 1984  KUNI has actually been playing his International Harvesters archives album ever since it was released and perhaps this serves best at the end of the show or end of a top ten, when Neil was getting tired of the country and wanted to rock out once again like he did on this finale.  With the 10 minute ending (it feels like) it does foretell Ragged Glory by about five years.  And so this finishes up my version of what is considered alternative music.  Your opinion or music will vary.

Hot Tuna-Steady As She Goes (Red House)
Twenty years after their last studio album, Jorma and Jack return but seems like Jorma has entered a laid back groove in the way of J J Cale (Goodbye To The Blues).  With a female lead singer in tow, it also echoes more of Jefferson Airplane than actual Tuna.  Kaukonen does still gives plenty of pre war blues ala Reverend Gary Davis (Mama Let Me Lay It Out On You, Children Of Zion).  Hard to tell what Jorma is getting at on the by the numbers If This Is Love.  End track Vicksburg Stomp does bring a bit of Burgers era type of boogie blues.  Overall, it owes more to Jorma's last couple solo albums but with a more electric kick.  Not ground shaking but safe. 

Grade B

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Crabb Bits: Borders Dubuque, Amy Winehouse, Storms, Boston

Some people are a ticking time bomb to die.  Mr. Cobain was one, Layne Staley another and now Amy Winehouse who was found dead at her flat under the suspicion that she overdosed on drugs.  Guess Rehab didn't work for her and she meant that in her song.  I didn't much get into her music but thought she had talent but always was on the wrong side of things be it love or substance abuse. While some people will look at her as one of the best singers in this era, I look at her at the same way I do Cobain, Joplin, Hendrix, great talent wasted by what could have been.  No need to say anything else except...drugs are bad.  mmmmK? 

You can always tell when The Great Jones County Fair comes around for the third year in a row another big windstorm came and did some damage to the area. I think last night Lady Antebellum rocked the place down and the damn hurricane that blew though just about tore it down.  Power went out here at 9:25 and didn't come back on till 12:25, another three hours of being in the dark for my brother.  These fucking power outages are playing havoc with my computer to which I left on thinking we went going to get a GD monsoon but when we have stalled fronts every fucking month I should expect this shit.  I don't expect 90 degree temps today since it still raining at noon but perhaps it will be winding down when I head up to Dubuque to see if the vultures left anything for me to buy at Borders.  More about that later on a followup.  Stay tuned.

Needless to say The Borders In Dubuque was somewhat picked clean despite only having their sale starting from yesterday but still I found a couple of Sly & The Family Stone CDs and Weather Report's first album for 20 percent off.  Also picked up a Dave Brubeck Best Of and thought it was cheap till Moondog had it at the same price.  Still, with Borders closing they did have the new Gillian Welch CD but decided I'd wait on that for a while longer.  Yes it was Saturday and Borders was packed with plenty of bargain vultures picking up bargains left and right.  But I have to say that I will miss Borders simply of the fact that it was on the way to the other music stores in Dubuque on JF Kennedy Drive.  After all the West end of DBQ seems to be where I hang out.

Got a kick out from the dude at CD's 4 Change as he informed me that Primus was coming to Madison soon and a couple other places and he was celebrating that and the new Primus by playing some of their old stuff.  I remember seeing Primus opening up for Rush during the Counterparts tour and even though most fans didn't get Les and company, I thought they were exciting.  He must have been a newbie, never seen him before.  Guess his GF called him up from Best Buy and they got into something that he tried to explain.  And then rented some Chinese food and off to Moondog Records to pick up the latest Hot Tuna and the Starcastle LP that I didn't have.  A fun but somber day with Borders closing but the logical thinking that some new bookstore will take over Borders by the end of the year.  The coffeehouse closed down before the fire sale so the smell of hot coffee was missed.  Contrary to rumor there's no Barnes & Noble up there....

One thing about Collector's Choice Music is that I never had any problem with them sending things out, in fact they sent me 2 of the four cds that I ordered, alas the ones they didn't send out were the ones that were on sale for 5.98.  I have hope they will fulfilled the rest of the deal otherwise send a refund.  The logical guess remains that anything on CCM Records will be a thing of the past.  Perhaps I may have waited too long to get the six dollar bargains and should have ordered up once I got the catalog and not three weeks later. My bad. However, CC Music if you want the latest, they seem to have it, it's usually the sale priced stuff that they tend to not have about 50 percent of the time. 

Yes FM radio sucks and basically Drew was right that the great advertisers are the ones being blamed for the continuing overkill of the classics we all grew up with.  Funny, I turn the channel when Hotel California comes on, or Sweet Home Anamosa (pun), or Black Dog but although they sound stale and overplayed on the radio, on my cd player they sound better.  Am I so used to hearing so much from my collection that my tolerance of what's on the radio is hairline at best?  I can take Hungry Like The Wolf once every other month but not every fucking day as KOKZ does.  Basically the bottom line is that money talks and bullshit walks and people with better taste in music has their own MP3 or CD player to escape the overplayed classics, no matter how much you might like Purple Haze or Crazy On You, it's Chinese Water Torture for the open minded, while comfort tunes for the less inclined.   For a different viewpoint, my music chat bro TAD has this take on this

Curtis from the Curtis Collects Vinyl Blogspot made a comment that Boston Third Stage should have been the end of Boston as we knew it but if you really think about it and read the notes to remastered first two Boston albums that basically it was the Tom and Brad show. and that the first Boston album might be the ultimate Basement Band album ever since Tom pretty much did most of the work and Barry and Sib contributing some guitar bits here and there although Let Me Take You Home Tonight might be the only Boston recording featuring everybody including Fran the forgotten bass player.  Yes, Tom Scholtz does have a bit of ego, since he invented the Rockman Amp and was a great inventor of things.  Recording albums every seven years didn't help him all that much and when Brad Delp got too bored he would hook up with Barry Gourdeau and made the half good half bad RTZ.  You can make a argument that Walk On isn't vintage Boston due to Brad not being on that (Fran Cosmo, another Barry Gourdeau music buddy who played on Orion The Hunter is on Walk On) but perhaps it turned out to be the Tom's music hobby and only toured when cattle plodded.  Too bad I didn't get to see Boston when they played Jones County Fair about five years ago.  The first two Boston albums made nice royalties checks which enabled Tom to fool around on the seven year plan of making albums.  And being a Boston Band fan, I still like the first two (despite classic rock radio overplaying them), found that Third Stage that Tom was trying too hard to make a big statement and failing (Cool The Engines rocks though) and never paid much attention to Walk On although Corporate America I liked fine, even the female singer on the folkish track.  The 2nd edition Boston Greatest Hits was a bit better but not enough for me to trade the first copy in (although Epic/Sony finally did away with Living For You).  And Brad Delp can never be replaced as lead singer although Tom tired the dude from Stryper and it wasn't the same thing at all.   For one of rock's greatest vocalists, Delp remained a big mystery and although I don't recall a solo Delp album, he did showed up on Barry Gordeau's albums and band projects.  Kinda of a shame that Tom Scholtz didn't offer more band involvement on the Epic albums outside of Brad.  Barry's 1980 Portrait album I actually thought was Boston album.  And I still like the first three songs from RTZ Return To Zero before they deteriorated into 3rd rate Foreigner or 4th rate Bad English.  Nevertheless while Tom continues to work on the next Boston project, we all know that once Brad Delp silenced himself that it cannot be the Boston that I know and love but all along Boston has always been more Tom's project than anybody elses.  Even though Boston didn't sound like anybody else, hard to believe or imagine that most of what you hear came from the basement of Tom Scholtz which is remarkable considering there was no pro tools or cheap 4 tracks back in those days and those consoles and mixing boards may have cost a few bucks for Tom, he did reap the rewards of big record sales and invested accordingly that he really doesn't need a real job anymore.  But he's still inventing, in one way or another.....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Top Ten Of The Week-Hotter Than July

I must say that the gates of Hades have opened up and the great heat wave is upon us.  Me and Nicole spent part of Sunday down in Iowa City to go to the record store but I didn't buy anything for fear that if I did buy anything the record would have warped big time.  Couple things of interest, The Kaleidoscope Beacon From Mars on Epic to which it was a reissue judging by the midnight blue label of the late 70s and most of the 80s.  Can't recall ever seeing it reissued and Record Collector had it for 8 dollars, a good deal but from what I remembered of it, most of the record was blah.  Thought about getting Mother Earth's Living With The Animals, an album that Wounded Bird reissued but outside of the long title Goodnight Nelda Grebe The Telephone Company Has Cut Us Off (which was a single for Mercury BTW) and Down So Low, I don't recall much of the rest.  So I passed.

For the second time of going to Iowa City, I didn't find anything to take home, although Nicole found Season Two of Renegade.  We kinda strolled around 105 heat index degree downtown Iowa City and I almost passed out from the blistering heat.  Kinda reminding me of Pete Sweval from the Looking Glass complaining about that GD Heat from Catherine Street.  There was much more to Looking Glass than Brandy You're A Fine Girl but you'd never know that this band would mutate into Starz and reinvent themselves on Capitol for four uneven albums.

My boss went to see U2 in St Louis Sunday Night and he reported that they were spot on great and had a nice light show and stage.  He didn't know what to think about Interpol, the warm up act and neither do I.  Gotta hand it to the man for driving all the way down there to rock out to Bono and company and come back up the next day to come to work.

With Borders becoming a thing of the past, I beginning to think I should make one more trek up to Dubuque to visit and see what they have 20 to 40 percent off.  Or maybe Davenport although I'm more in cline for the former than latter.  I think Moline still has their FYE store but even when Coralville was around, the Moline store was always hit and miss.  Still have that Children Of Nuggets box set that I have yet to crack open and play.  Borders I still think beat Barnes & Noble for CD selection and even a scaled back Borders I managed to find a few noteworthy things.  I know Borders only can blame their selves for their lack of vision but dammit, I always enjoyed making my way into their stores if I was in the neighborhood.  I know Nicole is trying to convince me to head over her place for the weekend but I'm beginning to look to the north and east of here on 151 to the Q city but risking getting a heat stroke if it continues to stay hot and the car has no AC.

Still hoping on Madison and getting there before the students retake the town again.

1.  Summer In The City-Lovin Spoonful 1966  So ably said about Hot Town, and getting back of the neck all dirty and gritty.  People walking around hotter than a match indeed.  I think they call it heat stroke if your not careful.

2.  I Will Follow-U2 1980  I always have had a love/hate affair with Bono and the boys.  If I never hear Pride again it wouldn't break my heart and I hardly ever play side one of the Joshua Tree since classic rock radio, oldies radio and alternative radio plays the first three.   Even my go to album Boy, has it's flaws as well.  To me, I don't think they ever topped I Will Follow in term of atmospheric guitar work although The Electric Company comes in a close second.  But then again, our trendy classic rock station played Twilight by mistake and it threw me off a bit.  But I'm sure the DJ got fired the next day for that little trick.  BTW, I don't mind Pride (in the name of love) I did enjoy hearing it before the programmers research dumb bunnies render that song to be played every day for the rest of days and made me sick of hearing it.  Somewhere out in the great waste of FM radio or Net radio it's playing.  Better that than Bad, the worst crap song Bono ever written (IMO).  Got thrown out of Zia's In Arizona one year after telling the sales associate to shove that whining POS up their keyster.  And then Boner reprised it for the Wide Awake In America EP that sells for a regular price.

3.  Misty Mountain Hop-Led Zeppelin 1971  This week was Mark Prindle's Birthday to which I wished him Happy Birthday via automatic birthday greeting to which I didn't know I did but I'd still wished him a Happy Birthday regardless.  He thought a line in question was hey there Whoopie Cat, I thought it was hey there Groovy Cat, it was all dandelion, dandelion but in pale frustration I looked up the line and neither one of us were in the same ball park.   It was Just then a policeman stepped up to me and asked us, said would you care to all get back in line, get back in line.  The actual line to which I finally heard it right after 40 years of hearing Groovy Cat and Dandelion.  WTF was I thinking???

4.  Goin Back-George Thorogood & The Destroyers 2011  New George is the same as the old George.  Getting his Chess Chicago styled blues down the Deleware Destroyer Way.  Boogie Sonics!  Actually his new album is very enjoyable.  At least it won't bore me like Bon Iver or Interpol. Or what passes for rock music anymore.

5. Raeline-The Brains 1980  Only 200 more views for 1,000.  Let's see if the faithful continue to view that little tribute to the band that came from Georgia and turned New Wave on its head.  I remember TBS had the Bill Tush Show and The Brains came on board to do this song, I don't recall if they did any other songs but it was the first and only time I got to see Tom Gray and company on TV.  On the second verse, look for the guys to shout out Doreen instead of Raeline, in tribute to a fan.  And if anybody from Universal Music is reading this, Reissue the GD Brains albums you fools.

6.  Super-Connected  Belly 1995  Alt rock darlings best known for Feed The Tree followed it up with this should have been a hit.  Produced by Glyn Johns, King (the album titled) bombed on the charts and while Belly sold very well, most have been found in the 2 dollar bins.  Originally on the Current Vision album that Target sold for about a dollar, this CD was pretty good in terms of giving us a taste of what alt rock was all about some good, some bad.

7.  All For Myself-Them 1965  With Van Morrison, Them was one of the toughest Irish rocker that ever graced the stage and for a couple short years made some kick ass songs for Parrot.  The B side to Here Comes The Night, this little throwaway goes into a full throttle rave-up as Morrison yells and screams ALL RIGHT ALL RIGHT trying to outshout the Vox Organ.  Sounds somewhat like The Animals.  Once Morrison left Them for the green solo pastures of rock, Them became a shell of themselves.  From what I heard of the new guy, none of the songs impressed me enough to warrant a second listen.  As for Morrison's music, you have your faves, I have mine.

8.  Take An X-The Angels 1988  The Angels from Angel City return with a followup. The US version of Beyond Salvation is much different than the Aussie version, the US had four new songs and five remakes, whereas the Aussie has no remakes, something that has plagued The Angels in their music career in the US.  Seems like every new album they did here they had to do a remake from their earlier albums, so technically we never got to hear a complete new Angels album.  This is from the Australian version of Beyond Salvation and perhaps the US label may have been right of leaving this one off.  A vain attempt to hit the rock radio market and failing big time.  However Beyond Salvation turned out to be The Angels biggest selling album in the land down under and New Zealand, and their only number one chart topping album.  It didn't even register in the top fifty here in the US.

9.  Rude Mood-Stevie Ray Vaughn 1983  As much as I play Stevie Ray, always seems like when it comes to making up a top ten that he always get left off.  David Bowie gave him a big break by playing on Let's Dance, Bowie's big selling album for EMI, but the folks at Montreaux   gave him a hard time when he played there.  He was so far ahead of the game that the clueless just sat there and booed him.  Their loss although when he returned for the Soul To Soul Tour they cheered him, (make up).  However, John Hammond signed him up to CBS, Jackson Browne gave some studio time to him and the end result was Texas Flood.  Like Hendrix, SRV was something special and like Hendrix, SRV left this world way too soon.  And music wasn't the same either.

10.  Hotter Than Hell-KISS 1974  What better way to describe how hot it has been here. Weather so hot I cracked open an egg on the hood of my car and made omelets out of it, the pop tarts were popping right out of the box and of course Mr. Lenee saying having a tube of poppin fresh rolls popping out and ready to be buttered.  I guess in the end, we'll end this miserable hot week of 105 heat indexes with something from the classic years of $tanley/$immon$, and I still play the first two albums from time to time.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Crabb Bits: The End Of Borders Bookstores, Solon Beer Days

I'm getting confused on the Ratings that I continue to keep up upon.  Can't complain about the Brains Blog running away with over 740 views but whatever happened to the Last Beeker Street Notes, that was at 52 views then went to 50 to 48 and now out of the top ten.  Looks like we'll go beyond the 1,000 view mark for this month but it may go down to the final day or two.

Seems like there's a death clock going for Borders, the beleaguered book chain. By 5 PM Monday Borders will be liquidated and will be a thing of the past.  Only Borders I go to is the one up in Dubuque from time to time and Davenport.  Being an old traditionalist, I still enjoy going to Borders and seeing what they have in the bargain bins.  The way things are going, I probably won't make it to the Dubuque Borders should they close their doors.  Nicole says that Borders always had a crappy customer relations whenever she went up there and the online sign up was bogus at best.  To me though, Borders did have a better selection of tunes than Barnes & Noble and when I went up to Dubuque a couple months ago, found a Best Of Paul Desmond and Hot Tuna Best of for six bucks.  The old Borders by Fiesta Mall in Mesa was my go to place when I was down in that area and got to see some live entertainment in the process.  The Davenport and Dubuque stores were not super stores so they managed to hang around a while longer but once they start closing the super stores down it was a matter of time.  Maybe I'll sneak up to Dubuque one more time to say goodbye to Borders before its a thing of the past....

Nicole asked me when the Madison summer bargain hunt will happen.  The logical guess would be withing a couple weeks but with 90 degree temps and no AC in the car might make a very long trip.  Everybody knows I'll be up there, question remains when.  With summertime in full force here in Iowa, temps will be up in the 90s, dew points in the 70s and we'll be sweating gallons.  On a plus side, I actually lost about 20 pounds and can now fit into those size 34 pants that I couldn't first of the year.  On the negative, it's been a stress diet.....

Closer to home Solon Beer....Beef days return tonight and Saturday so that town will be hot and hoppin.

Death never takes a holiday.  Jerry Ragovoy, one of the best producers and songwriters of the 60s died from a stroke at age 80.  Although he was more famous for helping the career of Janis Joplin, I considered his production work with Howard Tate to be even better.  For a good example find Howard Tate's Get It While You Can, the Verve Recordings, or Rediscovered, Tate's comeback 2003 album for Private Records with Jerry behind the controls.

Cascade has their Rockin By The River Concert this weekend.  Guy Clark headlines on Saturday.  Guy Clark one of the best songwriters out there.  Worth going if you have 35 dollars laying around.

The new Yes Fly From Here (Frontiers) is Drama Part 2 since Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn return to produce and write the majority of songs.  The hardcore Yessers complain no Jon Anderson, no Yes but Drama was a fine album in its own wake.  Fly From Here is better produced but the songs don't stand out all that much.  In fact Yes doesn't rock all that much till the finale Into The Storm, which has great vocals from everybody but the end gets bogged down by a grand finale that kinda fizzles.  Benoit David owes more to Trevor Rabin or Horn than he does Jon Anderson but he does hold his own as vocalist.  Steve Howe solos on Solitude.  The Fly From Here Suite that occupies the first half is uneven.  Although this album has been getting good reviews I consider it to be the slightest of the Yes albums (The Ladder and Magnification were better to these ears)

George Thorogood 2120 S Michigan Ave (Capitol)

Another pretty good album from George and the Destroyers to which he celebrates the music of Chess Records, the music that I grew up too.  Even though Muddy, Howlin Wolf, and Willie Dixon has been gone for over twenty years, Thorogood still remains committed to this type of music.  He still feels the loss of Bo Diddley, but keeps the Chess Records sound in tact with Buddy Guy appearing on Hi Heal Sneakers.  Buddy  Leach, the old geezer sax player adds some touching sax work here and there and Charlie Musselwhite, blows harp on My Babe and the title track.  And of course Thorogood goes for the blues boogie on Two Trains Running (Still A Fool) which is what he does best.  Certainly in this day and age 2120 S Michigan Ave may not be sell millions of copies but it is just as good as Bad To The Bone.  Just not as overplayed.

Yes-Fly From Here B-
George Thorogood & The Destroyers-2120 S Michigan Ave B+

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Top Ten Of The Week-More Than I Can Stand

The Top Ten Of The Week:

1.  Love Is What You Make It-The Grassroots 1973  As I started this blog, I heard that Rob Grill, the vocalist of this band died from a stroke at age 67.   Sunday, we lost Mike Burston aka Wurzel who was part of Motorhead in the late 80's and early 90s from a heart ailment at age 61.   And of course last week, my good friend Dennis Pusiteri from a sudden illness at 53.  Gawd we are losing too many good people while assholes like Newt Gingrich, Sarah The Screech Palin continue to breathe.  Everybody dies eventually but still....Rob Grill's passing won't make much of a dent in the music publications since he was part of the early rock and roll years and nobody really cares about the surviving bands that are playing at your local casino or county fair.  Anyway, The Grassroots made great singles but mostly forgettable albums.  I thought their 45s got better and bought this song when it came out but it got no higher than number 55 on the Billboard charts of 1973 (although here it placed on the KCRG Super 30 chart).  Never did see the album it was on (Alotta Mileage) till I came across it at Dubuque's Moondog Music a couple years ago and finally bought it.  And it's nothing to write home about.  By then, ABC Records dropped them and Rob Grill and company moved on to Dennis Lambert/Brian Potter's Haven/Capitol for the excellent Mamacita which stalled at a disappointing number 71. A return to MCA didn't do much either.  Still I have to thank our radio station for continuing to support the Grassroots with Love Is What You Make It and followup Where There's Smoke There's Fire. And RIP Mr. Grill.

2.  FM (No Static At All)-Steely Dan 1978  Great song from the crappy 1978 movie, I got to see the movie once and it hasn't held up every well.  MCA put together a K Tel like soundtrack with some stuff from the likes of Linda Ronstadt, Billy Joel, and James (Your Smiling Face) Taylor.  As well as Dan Fogelberg's There's A Place In This World For A Gambler.  Steely Dan never bothered to put this on record but rather on a 2 LP Greatest Hits which has been replaced a few times over.  Side note: I did buy the 2 Record FM Soundtrack for 3 bucks at Target in 1979 thereabouts just to be cool.

3.  My Sunday Feeling-Jethro Tull 1968  Perhaps the most blues sounding album that Ian Anderson ever made but then again Mick Abrahams was more blues than Ian really wanted.  So Mick left to form Blodwyn Pig and Martin Barre joined up and Tull went for a more prog folk feel.  Ignore the haphazard three star rating all music guide gave This Was Jethro Tull, it's a four star album in my estimation.

4.  Maxine-Mike Rutherford 1982  Where Phil Collins got all the hits and credo, Mike quietly put out a solo record called Acting Very Strange which had Stewart Copeland from The Police playing drums although it sounds more like a uncredited Phil Collins but then again that might be from the dazzling recording technique of Nick Launay who later would become a highly sought after producer.  Atlantic released this as a single to which didn't get any airplay, nor did the followup Halfway There.  Mike would have better success with Paul Carrack and Paul Young from Sad Cafe doing the vocals on Mike and the Mechanics albums.  Maxine remains a guilty pleasure.

5.  For A Girl-Mike Eldred Trio 2011 If radio was like it was 30 years ago, KRNA would be playing it.  Actually I thought Greg Allman was doing the vocals on this song till I found out that wasn't so.  Features the rhythm section from The Blasters.  Which always helps.

Ya bored?  Read this then!

6.  Put Some Hurt In You-The Boss Martians 2002  From The Coolest Songs In The World Volume 1.  Little Steven's Underground Garage is still the best thing going on radio although none of our lame assed radio stations has it on here. In 2007 Little Steven struck up a deal with Best Buy to put out some compilations of the lesser known garage rocks out there along with some known and at times he stuck it great with bands like Len Price 3 and the Stablilizers whose garage punk made it fun to buy music again but The Coolest Songs In The World Series was even more fun, but Little Steven never topped Volume 1 in terms of garage rock coolness and I don't know much about The Boss Martains except I thought I was playing The Mooney Suzuki instead.  After a couple years, Little Steven took his Wicked Cool acts and comps to FYE inc for another year but hasn't put anything new lately since the last Len Price 3.  Of course, moving to those crappy Digipaks didn't help either.

7.  She's Got The Mojo And Say So-The Blue Band 1993  A silly little tune from Bob Dorr and company although Jeff (JR) Petersen wrote this.  The Blue Band has been around for over 30 years and although they got more well known players into the fold (Turk E Krause, Billy Lee Janey and his son), the lineup that did the album Love's Sweet Poison had Ellery Temple and Dan Magarrell plus Bryce Loshman on drums.  Better seen live than on album but Mojo & The Say So is more fun than Elvis In Paraguay or Get Your Shit Together (what the funk is matter with choo?).  Old story; got to meet Ellery Temple at Rock n Bach on Ellis Blvd years ago and the guy compliment me on buying Canned Heat's Future Blues.

8.  Hit Single-Joe Jackson 1991  Still remains as true today as when he wrote it back then.  Only problem was it wasn't a hit single for Joe Jackson.  In fact, it bombed.

9.  Growing Up (won't bring us down) The Maine 2010  I know y'all don't care much for the new music out there. When your on a major label they steer you into pop land with hopes of scoring that elusive hit single that Joe Jackson didn't get in 91.  On the day that I found out about my good friend's passing via a surprise read in the online obit section, I took the rest of the night off and pretty much took the long way home and played this song which isn't about death but rather growing up and hanging at the beach from this band out in the great desert of Tempe.  But in the end, like a photograph or a memory of a good friend, gives us something to hang on to.

10.  Small Price-The Angels From Angel City 1984  They should have been just as big as AC/DC but Doc Neeson was more geared toward the dark and murky side of life rather than rock and roll ain't noise pollution hell's bells of Back in Black.  Angel City (The Angels in the land down under) like AC/DC was part of Albert Production Records and then signed on to CBS/Epic to which they had a hit with Marseilles and Face To Face (US Version) turned out to be a best of the Aussie albums but with John Boylan giving it a more clearer mix.  Darkroom the followup, was even better but CBS never promoted it and after the failure of Night Attack, The Angels moved over to MCA Records with the dark masterpiece Two Minute Warning, with a new drummer and a much harder rock sound.  Like Epic, MCA never promoted it and the Angels went back down into the underground, and except for a half an half with Chrysalis, never scored in the US again.  The US loss.  1991, Metal Blade managed to convince Warner Brothers to license the MCA album and Two Minute Warning came out on CD for about two weeks.  Thankfully you won't have to pay 50 bucks for a used CD, you can always find them a bit cheaper via Australia imports.  You can still find the MCA album in the dollar bins at your local clueless record store if they're not paying attention.  And chances are, they usually don't.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Dry July

10 days into this month and we have not gotten much rain except for a small little cloud of rain that dropped about a quarter inch of rain and replenished our lake in the driveway.   Yesterday was helping Nicole and her parents trying to make improvements around the trailer and then today she wanted to redo the closet and had to tell her that I need a day to myself and take care of things around my house.  I think she got mad and told me to go home then.

The one thing I noticed around my house is that I have way too much crap to ever fit in her place.  Which is why Bob Lefsetz touts downloads or anything digital since they don't take up a lot of space.  Unlike 10,000 CDs and albums.  So I spent most of the night trying to make room and only getting discouraged that I have yet to file about 50 cds and no place to put them.  Perhaps I need a big music sale to make room.  Problem is CDs are not in demand like they used to.  Oh sure I'll go to Madison and find some more and then come down and cram them everywhere.  Could drop a few hundred at Nicole's place just to get her the impression that I'm around in some sort.  I know she'll love me to move right on in, but as the past couple weekends have taught me, that I don't enjoy being yelled at on certain things.  Sure it's a part of love and relationships but I've been on my own for years and don't care for the nitpicking of the little things.  Which is why that this old crabb needs the sanctuary of his domain just to mellow out and get my own stuff done.  But it doesn't even look like I did much.

In some ways I was proud that I did helped out Howard putting the shed door up and for the first time ever, managed to successfully put up a fan above her bed last time.  Ya think that would have tired us out but we went to bed around 1 and Goddammed if I didn't wake up at 5:30 once again and not get back to sleep for the third night in a row.  That made me twice the crabb that I usually am.  But I think it all worked out for the best.  The GF did managed to get some things done on her own without me in the way.   Love is great but absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Love her but sometimes I need some time to myself.

It hasn't been a easy week with the passing of my great friend Dennis.  Going to his visitation and how that looked is the way for me to go.  If I pass away anytime soon, just cremate me and put me in front of my drum set with some rock and roll tunes from my vast collection to play in the background.  None of this somber organ music, or being displayed out in the open.  I'm sure Dennis didn't want people crying over him as they passed by.    I'm sure he didn't want me falling apart while playing The Ballad Of Easy Rider on the way home either.  I still get depressed of the fact that I saw him just three weeks ago and didn't chat with him.  Thinking there would be a next time.  Which won't be.

Seems to be a lot of people passing this year.  Michael Burston, aka Wurzel from Motorhead died at age 61 from a heart ailment.   And Newt Gingrich still breathes.  Hard to understand what life is or all about anymore. With Dennis death, it actually occured to me that 53 years is not a long time and I'm only 2 and half years away from it.  Ever since the internet came around this life, time flies much faster than it did before the net and it seems like we never have enuff time to do with we all want to do.

So I gather we should live for the moment before we are all into the great beyond.  Maybe I'll do that someday.

And the amazing fact that the Brains blog keeps getting all these views.  Think it breaks a 1,000 that it will finally convinced the idiots at Universal Music to reissue the damn Brains albums on CD????

Friday, July 8, 2011

Crabb Bits: John Anderson, Linn County Fair, Old Hippie Part 2

All of the fun at the fair.

I don't usually go to fairs.  Out here the heat is on and when you get in the shade you get to have about 50,000 flies all over you.  This fair was no different but my GF bought tickets to see John Anderson and I got dragged into going.  I know Anderson has been around for thirty plus years and had big hits with Seminole Wind and Swingin' and a few others but he really interest me enought to buy any albums.  My brother hated that song Swingin. 

But first I had to go to Dennis Pusateri's visitation in town.  I figured I owed my good friend at least a visit before he was committed to the ages.  Got there before five and it was beginning to get packed.  Dennis had many many friends and biker friends from The Chosen Few, since he was part of that motorcycle group.  I never did find out what he died from.  He may have been in a bike accident or perhaps he did have a stroke or heart attack since I recently seen him three weeks ago.  He was cremated and his remains was in a nice stylish wood urn with a Harley Davidson parked in front of it.  They said it wasn't his, that it was borrowed but still Dennis had a love of Harley Davidson bikes.  In the background, the funeral home played some rock songs rather than the somber mellow music that you'd expect from funeral homes.  I think Dennis wanted it that way, to remember him by The Cars You Are All I Got Tonight or Chicago's 25 or 6 to 4 or Lou Reed's Walk On The Wild Side which basically fits Dennis down to a t.  I still think The Ballad Of Easy Rider will be the song that I remember him most by and good thing that they didn't play it, otherwise I'd would have broken down again.   But there was a wide assortment of pictures of Dennis as a Marine in Training, Dennis the hippie, Dennis the prankster and amazingly nothing of Dennis when he was at NCS.  But perhaps the best picture of him sums it up was him in a late 80s photo of him hamming it up behind some jail bars in a funny photo.  I'm sure that's the way he wants to be remembered.  And the way that it will be.

So I managed to get back on the road to rejoin Nicole and her folks up at the Linn County Fair to see John Anderson.  The opening act was local boys Lonesome Road Band.  I guess they are one of the top country acts around here but their song selection all sounded the same to me.  They did a radical Fishing In The Dark and Brad Paisley's latest was okay but I didn't care much for the faux paus country twang of the lead singer and the lead guitar player hit a few sour lead notes.  To which I took five and went and got a Pizza Burger which wasn't that bad but had to eat it out there just to avoid the flies at the grand stand.   After about an hour and fifteen minutes of LRB boring me to death, John Anderson hit the stage with guitars ablazing, showing the folk and maybe Lomesome Road how to good country.  Due to my short memory, I didn't catch the steel guitar player, nor the the fiddle/mandonlin/guitar/backing singer but lead guitar Colin Murphy was excellent.  For the most part Anderson played the familiar and did a better version of Shuttin Down Detroit than John Rich's version.  Could have done without the fiddle player showboating on Orange Blossom Special but that's a minor quibble.   Nicole parents left after Swingin but they did miss out on a rocking Seminole Wind to close the show.   The fireworks show after John Anderson disappointed.

Dawes-Nothing Is Wrong (ATO)

This year I haven't been very impressed with the new bands and new music that is out there and basically it's getting to the point that maybe Bob Lefsetz is right and that people should just do single digital downloads and the hell with the album format.  The album format is dead.  But when I hear bands like Dawes and their second album Nothing Is Wrong, it makes me want to tell Lefsetz that even though I like reading his columns that he should just piss off.  Albums to me are like a book and every song is like a chapter.  Nowadays if that was the case then most of the albums out there would be half assed, or half blank.

Dawes is actually a throwback to the old southern California rock popularized by Crosby, Stills & Nash or even Jackson Browne since Taylor Goldsmith is just about a dead ringer in sounding like Browne.  Dawes also owes a lot to Crazy Horse or The Band.  Little Bit Of Everything could fit on a Jackson Browne album, My Way Back Home, a Crazy Horse album and perhaps Coming back To A Man like The Band.  Time Spent In Los Angeles could be this generation's version of CSN or Poco or Eagles but the sound is a bit more updated.  It also helps being signed to Dave Matthews' ATO Records to give Dawes that steady buildup for fandom that is sorely lacking in the major labels.  This is not a band for the flavor of the day, this a band that needs that album by album buildup to become the next big thing.  This might just be my favorite album of the year.  That's saying something.  BTW, Jackson Browne does appear on Fire Away.

Grade A-

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Old Hippie's Last Ride

Over the fourth of July,  I lost a great friend and one time co worker.  The legendary Dennis Pusateri. who died in a Des Moines hospital Monday.  He was 53.

We first got together working the late night shift at NCS in 1985 processing Pell Grants.  He was a one of a kind, wore very long black hair and had a hippie mustache.  And had perhaps the most barbed sense of humor, even more so than myself.  We spent four years there trading music, cracking bad jokes and giving Tim Robinson, our senior at the time a rub here and there.  Once we moved over to 2nd shift, we would head over to Maxie's on a friday night and close it down before driving back home.  I remember him best for calling Robinson Timmy, and Tim would get pissed and saying don't call me that.  Dennis said "Well I could call you something else but you wouldn't like that"

I told Dennis ya know it's going make him mad, Dennis would say Yeh I know, but I enjoy doing that just to piss him off.  That's the Dennis I know.

We kinda lost track of each other in the 90s but while shopping at Save A Lot one day, I heard a distinctive voice behind me saying "oh don't say Hi then" and then I turned around and there was Dennis with a big smile on his face.  The dude remembered me!  And we chatted for a bit and catched up on  the latest and talk tunes.

Later on, Dennis would be a permanent fixture at Hy Vee on Wilson Ave in the new decade and when I did see him in around 2008 he actually had short hair but he eventually grew it all out, even though he was mostly gray.  Probably had something to do with ex wives and kids.  He also had to deal with things in life, his brother was murdered in the John's Grocery Parking Lot around 1988 or 1989 and the killer was never found.  I got to meet his brother once and he was just like Dennis, good natured and a good person.

I'd never would have known about Dennis' passing if it wasn't for Nicole talking about somebody she knew passing in the obits in the paper and while scrolling down came across Dennis' name before Betty Swearingen, mother to another good friend of mine Mike.  I thought it was a joke, so I made a trip up to Hy Vee to see if Dennis' bike was outside.  It wasn't.  Although the sun was shining, there was a rain cloud that opened up and poured around and I saw a big rainbow above the funeral home to where Dennis will be there before his final destination.

I took a long lunch, went to a new Mexican restaurant and had some great Mole El Pollo in Dennis' honor.  Wished he could have been there to enjoy the food but I think he'd over at Hy Vee and bullshitting with the regulars.  I also did a lotta weeping on the way home, leaving work early as well.

This does hurt.  Hard to believe that I last saw him three weeks ago when I went up to Hy Vee to get some chinese food and I saw him walking out to his motorcycle, going on the way home and waved and thought maybe the next time I'll chat with him.  Only to realize that there won't be no next time.

I think out of all the co workers that I knew in the NCS Pell Years, Dennis was my closest friend.  He'd never said anything bad about anybody that I don't know about (although he did have some choice words for some judges in a letter to the editor edition of The Gazette).  In the wide scope of life, Dennis remains one of my top five friends that I kept in touch and it's a shame that I'll never get to hear him make bad jokes or talk about the days of Pell at NCS.  There's not much about him in the obit, just a line of two of where visitation will be at and perhaps maybe a bigger obit.

53 years isn't a long time if you think about it.  He's three years older than me but I think he lived a full life and made with the good while putting up with the bad and the floods of 2008 which destroyed his home but he still kept a full positive view on life and everytime I seen him, he'd had that shit eating smile and "How the  hell are you" greeting.  He may not have been, but I considered him my brother in arms and I love the man. 

Ride on Dennis.  I'll miss you, Old Hippie.

Dennis Anthony Pusateri “Krax,” 53, died Monday, July 4, 2011, at the Des Moines VA Health Care System. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Brosh Chapel in Cedar Rapids, located at 2121 Bowling St. SW. A memorial mass will be held at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Private family inurnment will be held in St. John Cemetery.

Dennis was born Feb. 18, 1958, in Cedar Rapids, the son of Francis and Roszanna (Fields) Pusateri. He served in the United States Marine Corps. Dennis was an over-the-road truck driver for many years.
His passion was Harley Davidsons, biking and his grandchildren. He was a past member of the Chosen Few.

Dennis is survived by his mother, Roszanna Pusateri; his children, Melissa (Jeremy) Thomas, Anthony Bridgeman and Tawnee Pusateri; grandchildren, Shelby, Jeremy Jr. and Tristan Thomas; and sisters, Monica Burkhart and Maribelle Thompson, all of Cedar Rapids.

Dennis was preceded in death by a brother, Matthew Pusateri; and his father, Francis Pusateri.

Memorials may be directed to the family at 1207 Fifth Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403.

PS:  I think the best way to describe the life and legacy of Dennis would be The Byrds' Ballad Of Easy Rider. After dedicating the song to him via Facebook, it's unlikely I will ever hear this song the same way again and probably end up tearing up.

And all he wanted
Was to be free
And that's the way
It turned out to be