Thursday, September 29, 2011

End Of The Month Thoughts For September

Judging by the ratings, it's safe to say that I won't clear the 1,000 view mark and this month may be the least viewed month since March.  Not due to lack of things going on, with the GF around and adding more demands of spending time together has cut into the music research and reporting.  Not that it matters all that much, I do about two hours putting together a top ten with witty sayings and the majority of this months stuff has to compete with the top ten favorites such as the Brains Blog or Sick Of Summer Ready For Fall which gets better ratings than the latest top ten, can't figure that one out.    This is getting to be like classic rock blog, nobody reads the latest, they just go for the top ten all time.  If this is the best we can do, may as well just quit writing then.

The change in weather, a change in routine and trying to adapt to a other half has involved changes on the net for yours truly.  Which was why I decided to deactivate the twitter account.  Basically it wasn't much music tweets but rather rant and raves on sporting teams that I root for and trying to give reviews to albums in 180 characters or less.   And seeing some unflattering remarks from some of my followers, so basically I decided better to delete my account rather than start a war of words between them because of a misunderstanding.  Here's something for you, if you don't want me to read your thoughts, then either make another account so I don't have to, or delete them before I read them and get mad about it.   This pretty much sums up why I rant and rave on the net on my worthless teams or worthless rock bands that get into the rock and roll hall of fame before the better bands.  I rant and rave on the net so that I don't hold it inside and get a actual heart attack.  And sometimes it makes great reading (see the all time top ten Crabb blogs for that).  Which goes back to the first paragraph of this, the ratings are down from last month but boy oh boy the Sick Of Summer and My GF Thinks blogs continue to rack them in, whereas the latest top ten is under 5 views.  May as well give me my pink slip now so I get back to realtime world and slip away to nothingness.

These past two weeks have been the best two weeks for new music, hard to figure that this year has been so blah in terms of new music.  But then again, the major labels can't develop new bands so they resort to the old guard and the world gets to shell out 100 bucks for the latest Pink Floyd box set, or Nirvana 20th Anniversary  Nevermind Sessions, or Elvis Young Man With A Big Beat box.  Elvis has been dead for 34 years, Pink Floyd has broken up for over 10 it seems and Dave lives on with the Foo Fighters.  I try to keep up on new stuff, The Chickenfoot 3 album is rocking great, the Primus album good but Dave Higgins at Groove Sandwich does a better review of it, Dream Theater  goes on too long, Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers' okay and the new Blink 182 listenable.  Though I haven't gotten it yet The Jayhawks new album seems to be a disappointment from what I have heard from the radio station.

For reissues, I am not as pumped on the reissues of the tried and tired (LA Woman anyone?)  that the only box set worth getting would be the Ray Charles Complete ABC singles which Concord Music will put out later in the year.  Half my childhood was growing up listening to Ray Charles 45's and finally getting The Train or Smack Dab In The Middle without scratches would be a miracle.  Other thing would be the Fugs Reprise recordings on Wounded Bird that you can order through Collector's Choice Music.

Even though the CD era is over there's no shortage of tunes to be heard if you look in the right places or spots.  The Arizona trip I noted that FYE cut their stores down there in half, (Arizona Mills and Chandler RIP) but it seems to me there's not a whole lot of stores down in Phoenix to check out music, expect the Zia's which I found the majority of my wants and FYE although getting the Loudness Thunder In The East CD was scratched up and Joe had to leave his name on the disc which really pisses me off.  If you're not going to keep your CD, don't fucking put your name on it.  Rubbing alcohol sometimes can't get the magic marker off.  Still I did okay in terms of getting some cool stuff and new music reduced.  It is a far cry from 20 years ago, when the best stuff was at Wherehouse Music which is missed and I'm sure one of these days FYE will close the Fiesta Mall store.  Question is when.

With less music stores, means less places to find new music unless I managed to get it before anybody if I see a promo copy at HP Books. I can sympathize with Mike Eldred on not finding his 61 49 CD at the local music store, in all the places that I went to in Arizona, I didn't see one copy new or used.  Mike would probably had better luck had it been on Blind Pig or Ruf Records rather than Zoho Roots.  It's still a top ten best of album regardless for me and thank the lucky stars to find it, but then again Mike was very kind enough to send me a different copy of 61 49 and autograph it.

For the first time in years, I didn't include a top ten while on vacation in Arizona and judging by the results it wasn't missed since most of the readers were keeping on Sick Of Summer, to which they probably thought that was the recent top ten.  So be it.  I thought about compiling a Al Kooper top ten but that as far as it goes. As I continue to juggle love life, work, and music I can't say if I'll continue to do a top ten thoroughly, it seems like half the time I'm piecing them on a day by day basis.  And it actually feels like work except that I don't get paid for making a comment on the latest by Primus or Blink 182 or bringing out a moldy oldie from Ella Mae Morse.  Hell, it doesn't even seem like I did go to Arizona for a week's vacation.

This month went by too fast.  And we lost about 84 minutes of daylight.  Gone from 8:15 sunset to now 7:00 PM and it gets mighty dark too fast.  Next month brings the fail foilage, Octoberfest and perhaps more music and hanging around the bookstore for more music.  And of course the October artist of the month which gets their own top ten songs.  And maybe we'll get more viewer ship over 1,000 but then again everything I write has to compete with the Sick Of Summer, or My GF Thinks blog so they can take over 2 and 3 place.  Makes me just want to quit blogging the more I think about it. Something is wrong when the Sick Of Summer is number 2 for this month.  Can't understand that logic, there's other more worthy blogs to read.

Finally, on the subject of Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame, Blue Oyster Cult is not in there but Metallica is in and they were influenced by BOC.  Nick Lowe isn't in the HOF, or Dave Edmunds but Elvis Costello is and he was influenced by Lowe. I am not a fan of Guns & Roses, don't think they should be in but if you count everyday of hearing Sweet Child O Mine or Welcome To The Jungle, they are shoo ins.  Whereas The Moody Blues, or Steppenwolf, or Status Quo and yes  Rush are on the outside looking in.  Makes no sense to me to see the GD RHCP's get in before Rush but that's the way and thinking of Jann Wanner's bias towards the bands that shaped my rock and roll hall of fame.  Hell, music is an afterthought half the time, just background noise while doing housework or trying to compile a top ten of songs that nobody knows half about.  Liked the Beastie Boys but are they more worthy than Rush or BOC?  Depends on what one thinks.  The record company mergers didn't help nobody but share holders just  like Cumulus Radio buying every fucking radio station here and turning into same soundalikes.  They didn't promote music but rather pay the stations to play the same shit over and over.  And I don't care if Back In Black changed your life, but basically there's more to AC DC than just that album and it annoys and irritates me to no end that what variety we had for music died when the Telecom Act of 1996 became law and gave Cumulus Radio and Clear Channel the right to snap every GD mom and pop radio stations up to be what they are today.  Bland and annoying when hearing Pink or Sheryl Crow over and over and yes, Sweet Child O Mine.

And adding Grandmaster Flash to the HOF, pretty much makes it clear that the Rock n Roll HOF is not a RnR HOF but rather a Music HOF in the eyes of Jann Wanner who doesn't like Rush, doesn't like BOC and probably doesn't even have anything from YES in his collection.  They are what they are today, the Crock n Bull Hall Of Fame.  Suck on that one Jann.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Top Ten Of The Week-When Summer Is Through

With Arizona 25 now in the history books,  it also marks the end of summer.  Kinda hard to believe how fast this month has flown by.  Even in the Motel 8 room at Prescott, I was looking out the window and thinking that it was past the halfway point and I would have to eventually return back home to the change of seasons and cold weather that is around the corner.  Make no mistake about it, these are my favorite days of the year but we lose daylight 5 minutes at a time each day.

While I was down in Arizona, I missed a few things. One big notable was Mark Prindle's dog passing away.  The photos of Henry on Prindle's music site and FB page were highlights.  Certainly losing a dog is like losing a friend, I know that from experience.  Thoughts and good wishes to Mark.

One of our radio stations have changed formats and not for the better.  KRQN, one of the classic rock/oldies stations that has been on my radio from its inception is now a top forty station I 107.1 and that's all the world needs is another Auto Tuned radio station full of shit.  Thank the monopoly radio builders known as Cumulus to continue to dumb down and eliminate most of good music stations around here.  The fuckers own about 90 percent of the radio stations in this area anyway.   In other news, I have an opening on my car radio for a more tolerable radio station.

Last night was the first time I was at the Crabb house since leaving for Arizona Thursday Night, spending the weekend with the GF and celebrating her birthday.  Spent Saturday going to Napoli's for dinner and out to the Nature Center for a bit of trail hiking and counting trains going by.  I know she has a distain for football but she was kind enough to let me watch Arizona State beat USC for the first time in 12 years and some sunday games although we did go visit the folks for birthday celebration.  I do wish we can find a much larger place than the trailer since I have way too much stuff to fit into that place.  Still it's a compromise of sorts, although when I am away from The World's Best Record Store, I do feel out of place but someday everything will be together.  We hope.

This week has to be the best week for new releases and new reissues.  The big stink is the complete Pink Floyd recordings all together, which means that Pink Floyd has now joined the digipak generation.  Plus the Nirvana Nevermind Super Deluxe Edition to which you get two CD's of the album plus remixes, original mixes and EPs for 19.99 at Best Buy.  Or the new Wilco to which I passed, I just have not gotten into Jeff Tweedy's band ever since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and bought the new Blink 182 because it wasn't in a digipak.  Got a laugh out of the Best Buy dude who mentioned that when Enema Of The State came out he was still in grade school 12 years ago.  Which meant he was in the 3rd grade when Dude Ranch was unleashed to the world.

And Johnnie Wright, one of the last links to the original country music of the 40s and 50s and married to Kitty Wells has joined the great Jamboree In The Sky.  He was 97.

The Top Ten Of The Week:

1.  Crazy Nights-Loudness 1984  Hair metal from Japan and probably their biggest hit here in the states. For a time they were all Japanese with a love of Ozzy and Dio to which the lead singer sounded a bit like Ronnie James Dio.  Produced by Max Norman (Ozzy), lyrics more like Spinal Tap.  M. Z. A. dude. They mean nothing.

2.  Ten Girls Ago-Graham Parker 1991  Supposedly for a big city, Phoenix radio station sure suck the life out of me everytime I'm forced to listen to them if I don't bring enough music or I get conned that I have satellite radio and don't.  However, there was a alt rock station down there that actually played this lost and forgotten Parker classic of the early 90's.  You don't have to snowball me with the lost classic, but you can wow me if you play something that I'm not going to hear on the radio all that much.  In fact, nobody really plays much Graham Parker on the radio.

3.  Long Tall Texan-Murry Kellum 1963  Dedicated to the Prescott Playboys who really massacred this song. 

4.  Night Goat-Melvins 1993  Out of all the grunge acts of the 90's you seldom hear anything from The Melvins who got Kurt Cobain to produce some of their 1993 classic album Houdini.  Atlantic wanted a grunge band but what they got was perhaps one of the slowest and slush metal that didn't give them any hits but I think their Atlantic period had some fun stuff.  This tune features the one note basswork of Mary "Lorax" Black (related to Shirley Temple Black) and Dave Clover smacking some drums.  Forgot all about this album till somebody at Zia's in Chandler was playing this album.  With the 20th Anniversary of   Nevermind  wouldn't it be fun if Rhino or Atlantic gave the world a 20th Anniversary of Houdini, perhaps one of the greatest grunge albums that nobody heard.  Wouldn't hold my breath though, Atlantic hasn't been fun or important since the death of Ahmet Ertegun almost five years ago.

5.  Down Down Down-Dave Edmunds 1970  From the original Rockpile album, before Nick Lowe came on the scene.  Terry Williams plays drums on this song to which he would join Rockpile a few years later.  Reissued on Rock Beat Records this month.  Basically there's more to life than just repurchasing Pink Floyd albums every decade.

6.  Ghost On The Dance Floor-Blink 182 2011  A band that never appeal to me all that much, Dude Ranch was too juvenile  for me but they hit it big with Enema Of The State and turned out to be Green Day's snottier brother and continue to have success till they broke up and now they are back together with perhaps their most toughest album ever with Neighborhoods.  It might be too dark for the top forty and modern rock crowd, which means that it might crack the top ten best of 2011.  Or maybe not.

7.  Tits On The Radio-Scissor Sisters 2004  Probably the best song they ever did.  Always thought the chorus went you can't say tits on the radio but once I cleaned the peanut butter out of my ears the actual lyric went you can't see tits on the radio.  Gotta hoot out of all the disco drums and Bee Gees type vocals but they actually went for more of a sound on their own and found it on Night Work, their third album.  To which like the last two, nobody bought.

8.  Cow Cow Boogie-Ella Mae Morse 1942  Taking you way back into the big band era, some people consider this to be one of the early early rock and roll records but I don't hear it.  More like big band than rock and roll.  Turned out the be the first big selling single for then a independent label known as Capitol Records.

9.  Easy Street-Thunder 1980  No relation to the hard rock band that recorded for Geffen in the late 80s, this band recorded two albums for Atco and somehow got enough requests to get their albums reissued on Wounded Bird (and the world still waits for The Brains reissues).  I think this got some airplay in 1980 and they sound like a cross between Atlanta Rhythm Section and Little River Band if you can believe that.  John McMeans could be a dead ringer for Ronnie Hammond of ARS.

10.  Burning Memories-Waylon Jennings 1963  The last song that I heard before getting on the airplane back home from the desert.  It seemed like a good song to end this top ten.........

And finally, I have seen what Jann Wanner has for the next Rock N Roll HOF and I'm not going to comment on any of them.  It's a joke beyond belief and if The Red Hot Chili Peppers get in before Rush, something is wrong.  Nothing against the RHCP's or GnR or The Cure but none of them reinvented themselves like Rush  unless you count the big turnover of Axl Rose's Hired Guns.  Just quit calling it the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame and we'll get along fine.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Crabb Thoughts: REM

In the week that I have been in Arizona, I wasn't around a computer all that much except for the one at the La Quita Inn in Mesa and The Super 8 at Prescott and the latter computer kept crashing everytime I try to access Hot mail so I basically kept it a minimum.  The big news of the week was that REM called it a day on Thursday. Kind of reminds me of The Townedgers after Pawnshops For Olivia, what's next and what could be done to make people fall in love with your music all over again.  And for the past three and half years the TEs still haven't gotten an answer or inspiration to do another album despite their biggest fans requesting new stuff.

REM had enjoyed a long 30 year ride, from being undergound favorites, to critics faves to cutting edge and then the mainstream and perhaps having their two best albums since Bill Berry retired may have been part of the reason that perhaps it was time to call it a day.  I wouldn't call myself a great big fan, I kinda gave up on them after Automatic For The People but finding cheap copies of their stuff at the pawnshop or dollar bins that perhaps they were a lot better than given credit although I tend to enjoy Monster more than Automatic, didn't think Modern Adventures In Hi Fi was all that bad and Out Of Time fun in spots.  My favorite remains Life's Rich Pagent and number 2 Murmur, that mysterious and atmospheric album that gave the world Radio Free Europe.  Their wilderness years albums Up, Reveal and Around The Sun  showed lack of focus but once they got Bill Rieflin as a drummer, their next albums were much more rocking.   Accelerate may have been the album Monster should have been but then again credit has to go to Gareth (Jack Knife) Lee's production.  Collaspe Into Now, is a nice farewell to a album that should have sold better.  Perhaps their next compilation album sums up with was best about REM is the title, Part Lies, Part Truth, Part Heart and Part Garbage, and the reader can pick which songs fit the themes at hand.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Arizona 25 Notes.

Vacations never seem to last do they?  Just got back home late after one of the longest airplane trips back home.  Our airplane was an hour and half getting ready due to some issues and when we did get on board and hit the skies, we had to turn around and then get another airplane home.  Supposed to get home at 4:40 but didn't till 9:45 PM.

In some ways Arizona 25 (a title given since I moved to Chandler in 1986) was just about uneventful as it got.  Everyday was nice and sunny and hot.  Got there last friday, and spent the night in Mesa, then hit the road to Tucson for the weekend and then on to Tombstone/Sierra Vista on Monday and then spent the night at Casa Grande, then off to Phoenix then to Prescott on Tuesday and then returned back to Mesa on Wed.  And Thursday spent the day at Tempe.  Throughout it all, I never did return to my old place of residence in Chandler or go by it.

FYE continues to close their stores in the area, they're now down to the one next to Fiesta Mall and the one on Broadway in Tempe.  The Chandler store closed up and so did the Arizona Mills store.  For the bargains, The Zia's Stores had them, and basically the Zia on Speedway in Tucson had a copy of REO, the 1977 album that I had on CD but sold off and then come to find out that my vinyl was scratched up so it took me about two years for finally score another CD, as well as the REO Speedwagon Lost in The Dream 1974 album.  FYE at Fiesta Mall had Jamie Brockett Remember The Wind and Rain on CD.  For new CD music, The Casa Grande Hastings had the new Primus album for 9 dollars and some Sony Music CDs for four bucks new.  Although I love going to Hastings, the Prescott store didn't have nothing to offer and since I went to Tombstone this trip, didn't see the need to venture up to Kingman and points North and East.  Surprisingly, I didn't buy any vinyl albums, although I did find a couple of 45's at Zia's on Oracle in Tucson.  Bookman's also didn't have much to offer either, although I passed on David Johansen's Then Came The Night LP.  Goodwill moved their store from Baseline to next door to Bookman's on Country Club in Mesa.  Still with that going on, I really didn't find all that much at neither stores and Bookman's used stuff tends to be overpriced. But they did have The Kings Are Here/Amazon Beach for 16 bucks, which is much cheaper than what's sold on

Heath-wise, I did okay although while in Tombstone's Boot Hill Cemetery I did get a little ill from the heat. Hard to believe that this was the first time that I have been at Tombstone and it didn't rain unlike the previous four visits.  Thankfully the monsoon season was over.  I also paid the usual visits to my favorite eating places although The Jade Express at MetroCenter I didn't order the chicken fried rice but rather went for a buffett to which I should have stayed with the tried and true.  I also tried the In N Out Cheeseburger that Bob Lefsetz raved about and thought it was okay but overrated but didn't like the fries.  One night had the Poncho's Mexican Buffett supper to which I ate more of the Flan dessert rather than the actual meal.  Tempe had Slices, a pizza by the slice that has gotten rave reviews and it wasn't that bad.  On the first night, I stopped at Pizza Slices for 99 cents and ended up getting a medium pizza for a price of three slices.  And of course in Tucson it was El Morilito on Ina with my good friend Barbara.  Had to eat there twice although the second night, the service was terrible.  I kind of miss the old dude who waited on me there last year.  But for the most part, I live on 79 cent Pepsi from Circle K while out bopping around the state.

Wasn't much for highlights down there.  Train was playing at some casino in Tucson, Santana was going through the state and on Interstate 10, passed one of the Rascal Flatts semi's on the way to Sierra Vista.  At Prescott, I managed to go downtown and got to see a bluegrass trio play some Gordon Lightfoot and then off to another bar to see The Prescott Playboys mangled Long Tall Texan.  They do play every Tuesday Night at some bar down there.  Could never find the GD Hastings store in Prescott, the trick is to locate the hospital there.

Since I spent three nights in around Tucson, going to Kingman wasn't going to happen.  As much as I enjoy Phoenix, their rush hour traffic sucks even more than it did 25 years ago.  The Union Pacific that runs alongside the I 10 gave me my locomotive fix, as trains would go by at least four an hour on a single set of tracks.  Nevertheless, Sierra Vista was the first time I stopped in that town.  For cable TV, Super 8 had the best selection of channels, Red Roof's channel sucked and La Quita's seems to not have WGN.

Back in my old haunts, The Fiesta Mesa Terrance is now empty.  What they used to have for stores, Best Buy, Staples, Payless Shoes and Borders are gone.  Best Buy moved across the street to be one of the anchor stores at Fiesta Mall.  This Borders used to be a good hangout but that place got closed up last year before Borders went bankrupt.  Hard to figure just 10 years ago, that stripmall was hopping, now it's all empty buildings and parking lots.  FYE closed half their stores and it wouldn't surprise me if they finally close the one at Fiesta Mall, which is a shame because I have always been a part of that particular store even in the days that I lived there and Wherehouse Music was there.  But for the most part the Zia's stores in both Tucson and Phoenix had lots of decent CDs and I only got hit on for help one time.  I did noticed though that the FYE on Broadway has now a bigger vinyl selection which might mean that they be the last FYE standing when all is said and done.   But I also see a lot of the old stores gone whose signs are still up.  Memory Lane on University in Tempe has been gone for four years but the sign still remains.  So does Rockaway Records at the old strip mall off Alma School/Baseline.  Used to be that there was about 30 great music stores to go to 20 years ago, nowadays it's about a tenth of them still around.  A further reminder that the CD era is over and from here on out, it's the internet to find the decent and hard to find.

Sad part of life is how much things have changed in the 25 years gone and removed than when I was down there.  No more Long Wongs on Mill in Tempe.  I remember getting the cheap dollar plate of spaghetti when I lived down there and lived fairly well on a daily plate of it.  Zia's still is open till midnight in Tempe but not in Chandler to which they close shop at 10 oclock, thus robbing me of another change to buy them out.  Tempe replaced the rubber dam that made Tempe Town Lake and unlike last year when it was dry, there's now a nice little lake on the outskirts of downtown Tempe. 

In some ways, this trip wasn't supposed to happen.  But it did.  But even as I paid the whole day by Allegiant Airlines plane problems, the trip turned out to be  fast moving week that went by way too soon.  Certainly I would love to return once again next year to make up what I couldn't do and maybe a return to Kingman isn't out of the question. Time flies much faster then it did twenty five years ago or even twenty or ten. 

So here we are again.  Trying to remember and trying to document the highlights of AZ 25.  And maybe return if things fall into place, or if they can get an airplane that doesn't fall apart on the way there...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Top Ten Of The Week-Milestones

Last weekend, we had the 9-11 tributes going 24-7 and I read a few of the comments of what you were doing and where you were at when that happened.  I think I posted something about it a year ago and didn't want to repeat the whole thing again.  The one thing that stood out was that it was a clear blue day and it was strange when the sun went down and seen no planes flying in the skies.  But that week we had two releases from Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan that came out, The Rising and Love & Theft.  Somewhere in those two albums lies the real message.

To make you feel that much older, 20 years ago the world was subjected to Nevermind by Nirvana.  Which pretty much blew away the hair metal bands off major labels and such.  But even after when Kurt blew half his head off, the hair metal bands never really went away and still enjoy some kind of success today.  I have the cd and like it fine somedays but it never changed my life the way, oh say The Godz or BOC Spectres did.  And don't see the need to upgrade to the 2 CD 20th Anniversity Nevermind anytime soon.  I think I was more into the alternative music of Stone Roses, Charlatans UK, Dylans, Ride.

A milestone in itself.  George Jones celebrated his 80th birthday Tuesday.   That is a miracle upon itself.  Happy Birthday Possum.

Next week, it's Crabby back into the Arizona desert for a week of bargain hunting and some driving.  Nothing special.  But I'll be sure to write something up if and when I get a chance.  Looking to stay around Chandler and Tucson and places south but I hope to do a Bullhead City/Kingman run one of the days too.  Depends on how I feel, which hasn't been much of lately.  Here's hoping my rent a car will have satellite radio.

The Top Ten Songs from the player of note.

1.  Deep Six Saturday-Tommy Keene 2011  This guy has been around longer before Nirvana ever started up and even have  a couple of Geffen albums in the can before Kurt and company got there.  The guy has been heavy rock power pop for most of his years and has more to do with Gin Blossoms than Nirvana to which is why the GB's plucked Tommy's long time drummer to play in their band.  Nevertheless, he does a have new album to which Best Buy didn't have and I seen a DJ promo copy at HP Books so I picked it up.  Tommy has been coasting of late, the last two albums really didn't do much for me and Behind The Parade continues that streak although it's his most listenable since The Merry Go Round Broke Down.  If there was such a thing as real top forty music, you would be hearing this on the radio.  I know if there was still a alternative music station of 20 years ago you would be hearing this.

2.  Come And Get It-Whitesnake 1981  David Coverdale gets beat up over this band but if you go way back before the S/T album Whitesnake was pretty good.  Such a shame that Ready N Willing never got released on CD in the US and to me it was an extension of what DC did in Deep Purple but without Glenn Hughes weighing him down.  The classic album years are the ones to which Ian Paice joined the band (replacing David Dowle) and having Jon Lord playing keys.  But I'm sure DC didn't exactly like the DP sound so deciding to go into a more harder rock sound on Slide It In, which begins to pull away from the DP sound. Whammy bar mastermind John Sykes just about made them a laughingstock, and Steve Vai didn't help on the showoffy. Slip Of The Tongue.  There's always been a revolving door of musicians but lately Coverdale may have found a good partner in Doug Aldrich who has made the last two Whitesnake albums sound very good. Come And Get It is the lesser of the DP sound albums but it does have some moments.

3.  Things Can Only Get Better-Howard Jones 1985   I had a friend, Tim Ackley who quoted this song one day when we were up at Hamilton Business College (now Kaplin University, a shit hole academic school that does nothing but throw commercials down our throats here in the daytime) and after a bad day he told me to take the words of this song to heart.  To which I did but for him he had more darker demons to which would finally come to roost and he ended up hanging himself a year later to which the followup hit to this No One Is To Blame comes to mind.  Produced by Rupert Hine.

4.  It Don't Get Any Better Than This-George Jones 1998  It is a big deal to see George Jones make it to 80 years of life, everybody has written him off so many times, they didn't even think he'd make it to 40, but here he is, one of the best country singers in our time still singing away, although he hasn't really done all that much the past few years, he really doesn't have to.  So many songs to choose from, but I decided on the lead failed single of his 1998 MCA album and having a few friends help out.  Like Waylon, Willie, Merle, Bobby Bare and a Johnny Cash soundalike.

5.  Can't Think Twice-Starcastle 1977  The greatest Yes tribute band to ever come out of Campaign Illinois, they actually made three pretty good albums for Epic (four if you include Reel To Real their much malign 1979 effort) that could passed for Yes like prog rock.  Terry Luttrell probably does a better Jon Anderson than Benoit David himself although critics didn't care much for him nor Starcastle at that time.  Prog rock instead of punk how dare they?  And back then, I didn't care much for them either but on picking up their first album on CD (to which Sony Music actually reissued on CD and still has in print) and may have been wrong. Citadel is my choice of what to buy although I have heard complaints that if you get it from Renaissance Records you might end up with a crappy CD R, better to find the more expensive version from Rock Candy, that is if they have it in print.  Otherwise, you may have to settle for vinyl.  Lucky you.

6.  What's Your Hurry Darlin-Ironhorse 1980  Randy Bachman, tired of BTO, quits, goes solo for a album and then gets a new band going. Ironhorse was a lot more poppy and not as rocking as Bachman Turner and the majority of songs were sung by Frank Ludwig.  Randy co wrote this with Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys and it didn't chart I don't think but I have a promo 45 of it.  And the album Everything Is Black which has a better side 2 than 1, Ludwig tends to dominate too much.  Bass player was Ron Foos who would later figure into Rhino Records' wonderful anthologies of the bands of the 60s and 70s.  Foos would be replaced by Fred Turner of BTO and after a label change, they renamed themselves Union and put out On Strike.  Turner's returned helped alot although once again the album was uneven, great side 1, but side 2 was a poopfest.

7.  Live It Up-Crosby Stills & Nash 1990  Basically Graham Nash dominates on this album which picks up where Innocent Eyes left off.  The album was universally panned, this was a somewhat successful single.  I'm sure a lot of folk did also bought  American Dream which nobody plays anymore either.

8.  Cat Walk-Saga 2011  If anybody really gives a shit anymore, Saga did a live version of their 1983 classic Heads Or Tails in its entirety and Eagle Rock put it out on CD and DVD I gather.  Mike Sadler, the original vocalist is no longer in the band so they have a Geoff Tate soundalike doing the vocals.  Plus you get cheesy Casino Keyboards and that dated 80's whammy bar leads of Ian Crichton which grates on the nerves.  Basically stick to the original studio album.  Whammy bar guitar leads are so 1980's and that has been thirty years ago.

9.  Rosalie-Thin Lizzy 1978  Bob Seger wrote it but Thin Lizzy made it their own on the Live And Dangerous album.  Dedicated to Tim Hotz, my good friend from the Relics Store years and sometimes who I run into at Half Priced Books from time to time and Iowa City if you can believe that.  Tim bought that 4 CD import box set of Thin Lizzy that they had up there.  I'd say excellent choice.

10.  One And Only Man-Steve Winwood 1990  After the big success of Back In The High Life and Roll With It, it was a matter of time before the music masses got tired of Winwood and Refugees Of The Heart didn't do so great on the charts.  The album plodded on at times but really it wasn't that bad of a album, in fact I kinda preferred it over the more successful Roll With It simply that radio doesn't play it at all, nor this single to which I found on 45 a few weeks ago.  Winwood is one of those artists that took me a few years to appreciate better than during his hit making days.  Still not a big fan of When You See A Chance though.  But that's one crabb's opinion.  Your opinion may differ.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Buddy Holly 75

Today would have been Buddy Holly's 75th birthday and I still remain convinced that had Buddy lived, he would have been the king of rock and roll and not Elvis Presley.  But then again that's just an opinion of mine.  Buddy could play the guitar and write his own material.  Elvis managed to comb through and get good songs from other people.

Certainly if it wasn't for Buddy, The Beatles would have sounded a lot different then they would have.  British Rock would sound a lot different.  Certainly the big plane crash outside of Clear Lake set rock and roll back a few years.  Richie Valens would have also figured into playing a bigger role in rock music too although he may have pioneered Latina rock and roll even in his teen age and few songs that were penned.

Look, I like Elvis just as much as the other guys out there.  You can't argue with The Sun Sessions or the first two albums but once he went into the service the rock innocence was gone.  The 68 Comeback Special may have signaled in a new era of Elvismania, but once Presley discovered Vegas and the TCB Big Band, it wasn't exactly rock and roll but more adult pop although he did rock out from time to time.

Buddy took a couple years to figure out his style and he started out rockabilly or country but once he and The Crickets thought up of That'll Be The Day and made Fender guitars the must own instrument, he was reinventing rock and roll and for a short year added overdubbing on guitars and vocals and with Norman Petty also inventing garage rock.  It's hard telling what would have happened had Buddy lived; I don't think he would have stayed the course with the Dick Jacobs' syrupy strings on It Doesn't Matter Anymore (written by King Pap Paul Anka) but I'm thinking more in line of what he was doing on his solo S/T album.  Or he would have into production and who knows probably would have reunited with The Crickets.  It's all speculation.

One thing for certain, Holly died way too early before his time in a losing battle with a cold airplane and Alberta Clipper throwing him, JP Richardson and Richie Valens into the cold hard ground of Iowa and taking away what could have been and giving Don McLean the inspiration to do a 8 minute song on the history of Rock and Roll and The Day The Music Died.  In a perfect world, Holly would be playing his songs in front of packed crowds on his 75th birthday.

I like Elvis but I love Buddy Holly.  Happy Birthday.  We miss you Buddy.  (and Richie and JP too).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Superstar September Top Ten Of The Week-Foghat

This month in September the top ten will focus on ten songs from my favorite bands of the rock n roll era.  This is a attempt to provide some of the hits and misses of the featured bands and in no way you should see this as a 10 best.  Because if I do a Ten Best, that defeats the sense of purpose and just makes another classic rock blog about the overplayed.  I'm sure I'll add an overplayed song just for fun's sakes, and that I probably played the forty five so much the grooves got worn off.

Since I've did a band of the month feature on Foghat  it was decided to keep the continuation process going and add ten songs of note from the late Lonesome Dave, the late Rod the bottle Price and the still going Roger Earl and Tony Stevens and of course the recent members of Bryan Bassett, who's been a part of Foghat for over 20 years between the original members reuniting and returning when they left to seek other pleasures or exited the stage one last time.

In terms of theory, Foghat remains a problematic band.  Oh yes, I enjoyed all of their albums when I was younger but since I have gotten more music in my collection have come to find that not all their albums and singles have stood the test of time.  Even the reformed Foghat has nothing to do with any album after Boogie Motel, which is somewhat of a shame if you have a different ear for what Lonesome Dave was trying to do.  Take for example Love Zone from Girls To Chat, Boys To Bounce, their 1981 bomb.  It was probably the only close thing to boogie that they were doing but Dave's lyrics are laughingly grade schoolish.   Into the Love Zone, Baby here I come,  With you baby by my side, love's a open door.  Or how bout the second verse: Inside Outside, Can You Feel The Flow?  It's getting closer and closer, baby never let me go.

Not exactly Bob Dylan. But I enjoyed Erik Cartwright's slide guitarwork and Craig MacGregor's high bass notes at the end.   But then again their biggest hit Slow Ride isn't Lennon/McCartney either.  Slow Ride, Take It Easy, Slow Ride, sleezy.  So perhaps the snoots at Pitchfork might have issues with that or anything else that Foghat did in their history.    But then again, I'll defend the boogie boys till the end on the rocking songs but when they did drop a turd such as Love In Motion (maybe the worst thing they ever done) or Take It Or Leave It off Fool For The City, I lambast them myself.

Perhaps I was the only one that actually waited for the next Foghat up till their 1983 lambasted Zig Zag Walk.  And then rejoiced when the original guys came back 11 long years later with Return Of The Boogie Men.   Even with Rod and Dave up in the great gig in the sky, Foghat continues to put out new material and live documents although the live documents may not measure up to Foghat Live! per say.  But at least they're still out there putting on a great show.

Nevertheless, don't consider this to be the all time 10 best songs of Foghat, but rather the 10 songs that sounded good enough for me to put on the top ten.

1.  Fool For The City  (Foghat Live! 1977)  The studio version did very well considering it followed Slow Ride but nothing beats the live version to which it comes roaring out of the gates, as if Dave and the boys had something to prove.  Bryan Bassett almost copies Rod Price note for note on Foghat Live 2 but even he can't top the piledriving lead of Rod and the boogie beat of Roger and Craig.

2.  What A Shame (Foghat aka Rock n Roll 1973)  The first and only song that features Rod Price at the vocal and I suppose the chorus line Lonesome Dave liked enough to reword it as Fool For The City.  This got ample airplay on the FM side in 1973 and this even made it on the Warner Special Products version of Heavy Metal, to which somebody there remixed it.  If you had the 8 track, you got a extra verse thrown in for good measure.

3.  Eight Days On The Road (Rock And Roll Outlaws 1974)  They were on such a roll that they released two albums in that year, Energized and RARO, the latter which my aunt had a 8 track version of this album.  This song might be the best way to call this Boogie Sonics to which Rod and Dave trade off some leads in the middle and then playing together at the fade out.

4.  Live Now-Pay Later (Girls To Chat & Boys To Bounce 1981)  Imagine my surprise when I saw this 45 at the jukebox in the Kirkwood Game Area, Imagine my disgust when they faded it out before the great heavy boogie second part.  To which Lonesome Dave lives the high life but has to boogie out before the bills come in.  It's been said that Roger Earl didn't care much for this, nor Zig Zag Walk since Lonesome Dave told him to play less drums.  However they did a rocking version at the Five Seasons Center in 1981 when they opened for Blue Oyster Cult.  Side note: Roger Earl would actually warm up by playing some drums to tune up before the show, which was fairly cool.

5.  Jump That Train (Return Of The Boogie Men 1994)  Rick Rubin got the ball rolling but it was the return of Nick Jameson to record the whole thing and he's adds more a bass borne mix to make it sound like garage rock.  It did help a lot that Rod Price was back although Lonesome Dave was still writing his usual love porn junk but at least on this song he was singing about trains.  And probably should have done more train songs than Love In Motion goobers.

6.  I Just Want To Make Love To You (Foghat 1972)  And the wah wah petal changed rock history with this old time classic, which doesn't get overplayed at much as Slow Ride or Third Time Lucky.

7.  Ain't Living Long Like This (In The Mood For Something Rude 1982)  This is one song that you cannot mess up.  I have many versions of this from Waylon to Dream Syndicate to countless others.  After the dismal showings and efforts like Tight Shoes or Girls To Chat, Lonesome Dave decided to do a whole album of covers.  And it was actually fairly good but it didn't sell.

8.  Stone Blue (Stone Blue 1978)  I'm surprised that they stuck the whole 5 and half minute version on a 45 and it might be their most straight ahead heavy boogie song ever made.  And Price goes into the stratosphere with some over the top lead guitar at the end, like he's running out of frets.  Lonesome Dave may have written his best lyrics with When I was stone blue, rock and roll sure helped me through.  Which he was speaking for me back then.  Maybe now too.

9.  Drivin' Wheel (Night Shift 1976)  Another of Lonesome Dave's patented fucking songs this got a bit of airplay on the FM side of things in 77 but I rarely hear it now on the radio.  Bearsville butchered it on a 45 edit and Rhino then did a much worse job on the Best Of Foghat since it wasn't the original 45 version.

10.  Nervous Release (Boogie Motel 1979)  If you get past the crap that is Love In Motion, you get a nice boogie free for all that ends Boogie Motel on a positive note but it would be the last true boogie song before Tight Shoes and beyond.  Features Alton Reed from Bob Segar's Silver Bullet Band honking away or maybe he did that on the title track or Somebody.  Either way this song rocks.

Grades on the albums are considered B+ to B- although I do give Foghat Live an A minus (hell consider it an A if I dare).  The studio albums don't vary much although I think the 2nd album through Stone Blue are worthy for your collection.  Girls To Chat has fallen from a B plus back in 81 to a C plus, and despite it all, I still enjoy Zig Zag Walk and give Lonesome Dave props for at least trying something different, even though it fell flat on its face and they wouldn't record another album for 11 years.

For the comeback years, Return Of The Boogie Men ranks a B plus but the acoustic part is boring to these ears.  Road Cases really didn't do much for me either.  The Charlie Huhn led band has made one studio album (Family Joules-2002 reissued via Varese Fontana 2010) and one blues based album (Long Train Home-Fontana 2010 which featured the late Eddie Kirkland on two tracks) Family Joules is silly and Long Train Home so so although the guys think it's their best album in years.  I haven't heard Live At The Blues House nor Decades Live and don't plan to.  Foghat 2 is okay but you can probably live without it.  As for the best of out there, Buyer beware, a lotta songs are edited versions.

And so it goes.

And in case you missed the actual top ten of the week.  These are the ones that I was listening to the past week.

1.  Come On-Whitesnake 1977
2.  What's Good-Lou Reed 1992
3.  Theme From Exodus-Ferrante & Teicher 1960
4.  Thank You Mr. Churchhill-Peter Frampton 2010
5.  Up Or Down-Peter Kaukonen 1972
6.  Heartbreak Hotel-Viva Elvis The Album 2010
7.  Sweet Lu-Louise-Ironhorse 1971
8.  Rock Around The Clock-Bill Haley & The Comets 1954
9.  Round And Down-Steppenwolf 1969
10. Goodbye-Night Ranger 1985

We'll try to do better next week.

Link of the week:  KYEN 103.9  Classic album rock like you remember it back then.  If anybody can play Nick Lowe Maureen, has got to be worth checking out eh?  We can forgive them for Aqualung.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Top Forty Surveys

Inspired by TAD's recent blog of old time top 40 surveys, I decided to go into some research into the forgotten art of the top songs of certain decades.  Thanks to the internet, there are many out there should one take the time and google. The above link has the largest online surveys and is the first place to check out if you're looking for the long lost hits of the golden rock era.  And the later ones too.

This one is an December 1957 survey from KOBY which features famed Iowa DJ Bobby  Beers who would return back to his native state Iowa at KRNT and KOS, the former to which I probably heard him on the air in the late 60s when we lived out in Nevada.

This is WABC's top music survey and the archives have them up from 1960 to 1982 to which they discontinued the format.
This came from Vancouver  Canada.  Note that they have a top ten for Canadian Artists at that time.

As always Billboard continues to put out a hot 100 singles and albums every week from their website.  But I'm either too lazy or too indifferent to put that link up. But I'm sure there's other sites out there that are waiting for you to discover what it was like when AM radio had all this variety and not stale as today's radio.

But there's are the best of the bunch. (so far)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Band Of The Month-Foghat

In my high school years Foghat was my favorite band to listen to.  Back in the early 70's they were early staples of FM radio, with KWWL FM playing a lot of tracks from their first two albums.  But they actually go back to Savoy Brown, when Dave Peverett and Roger Earl joined up on Getting To The Point and stayed up till Looking In which could be considered the first true Foghat album since Tony Stevens was part of Savoy Brown then. A lot of hard blues boogie, by the 8 minute Leaving Again which would resurfaced on the first Foghat album produced by Dave Edmunds.

If anything their first album started out with one of the greatest lead off songs ever, a wah wah treatment of I Just Want To Make Love To You.  Substitute Kim Simmons in favor of Rod Price and you get the original Foghat.  But unlike Savoy Brown a more nod toward boogie rock and roll rather than blues boogie that Simmons enjoyed.  And with more Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters to boot, this would figure to be the way that Foghat would sell albums.  Critics never got into them (Robert Christgau basically threw a B minus on Energized and left them to their own devices) but they were many a fan favorite although nowadays they seem to be a joke to the new generation of auto tuned kiddies.

With the second album Edmunds was replaced by Tom Dawes of The Cyrkle fame the 2nd S/T album (known as rock and roll) was a better album with less reliance on Willie Dixon or Chuck Berry and more on the song writing skills of Peverett and Price.  In fact the highlight remains Rod Price's What A Shame, the only song that Price ever sang lead on.  But Peverett also gave us classic stuff like Road Fever, Long Way To Go and the ballad It's Too Late.   Energized, continued the winning streak with Honey Hush, failed hit single Step Outside and Home In My Hand.  But the biggest complaint had to be the crappy production that Dawes laid on this recording, sounding very fuzzy and compressed, poorly recorded.  Nick Jameson would replace Dawes and worked on the underrated Rock And Roll Outlaws, which had no hits but they tear it up with a version of Howard Tate's Six Days On The Road, Blue Spruce Woman, the title track and Chateau Lafitte 59 Boogie, which closed many a live set before Slow Ride.

But Foghat broke it big with a stomping Slow Ride an 8 minute epic featuring some wild Rod Price guitar work and Peverett's heavy breathing on the sing along Slow Ride, Take It Easy before Jameson leads into a funky R & B bass riff.  Slow Ride remains one of the most overplayed classic rock songs but still sounds good when you play it on the stereo. A great version of The Righteous Brothers's My Babe and Robert Johnson Terriplane Blues is also at hand but the title track did managed to scape the bottom top forty in 1976. To which at that point Jameson left and was replaced by Craig MacGregor which is the best lineup of Foghat and remain intact till Rod Price left in 1980.

Night Shift was a bit more darker than the boogie good times of Fool For The City but that album got me through high school.  Side one with Drivin' Wheel, Don't Let Me Down and Burning The Midnight Oil was played time and time again.  For the cover they chose Take Me To The River but it was regulated to the B side of failed ballad I'll Be Standing By.  Produced by Dan Hartman of Free Ride and later Instant Replay fame.   Foghat Live! is one the ultimate live albums of the 1970's. At only 6 songs, each and every one from Fool For The City to Home In My Hand to I Just Want To Make Love to Road Fever and a wild Honey Hush brings us to the showstopping Slow Ride at the end.  Next to Frampton Comes Alive or Live Bullet or Live At Leeds, Foghat Live was arena rock at its best.

In some ways Dave Peverett was beginning to look at new wave and punk rock for inspiration although the next album Stone Blue was straight away boogie rock and roll lead by the in your face title track and a reworking of Sweet Home Chicago but the fact of the matter was that Peverett was good for about three or four songs per album and sometimes he would write some stinkers.  High On Love is one although Rod Price's guitar riffs saves that song from being goofy.  Love In Motion from Boogie Motel plain sucks and may be the worst thing Lonesome Dave ever wrote.  Stone Blue was noisy and Foghat didn't care much for Eddie Kramer (to which they misspelled his name for producer on that album).  Kramer does add a bit of noisy guitar noise to update the sound and I think it works fine.  Boogie Motel gave Foghat another top ten hit with Third Time Lucky and Alto Reed brings his sax work to Somebody Been Sleeping In My Bed and the title track.  Nevertheless this ends Foghat the boogie band and the 80s would bring in a more pop sounding Foghat that fell out of favor with fans.

Tight Shoes was Lonesome Dave's attempt to reinvent the band as new wave and it would lead to Price leaving the band in favor of Erik Cartwright.  They had a minor hit with Stranger In My Own Town but the problem was that all the songs sounded the same, straight four four beat.  For myself I like most of the album but can't recommend it to you unless you want to complete your Foghat collection.  Girls To Chat Boys To Bounce, a strange title name shows more of a new wave sound and outside of the boogie sonic classic Love Zone and Live Now Pay Later,  it was more miss than hit despite Nick Jameson returning to produce.  However I will defend In The Mood For Something Rude to which Peverett puts down the pen and does cover album of songs done by Rodney Crowell (Ain't Living Long Like This), Delbert McClinton (Love Rustler) James Brown (And I Do Just What I Want). The hit was Slipped, Tripped And Fell In Love but the record bombed and by then Craig MacGregor was replaced by Jameson again (under the alias Eli Jenkins).  By 1983, Zig Zag Walk sold worse, the fans, put off by Peverett's new wave adventures gave up and Bearsville gave Foghat their walking papers.  In some ways, this album actually goes back to Louis Jordan style jump blues with the cover of Choo Choo Cha Boogie and That's What Love Can Do is dance Kraut rock if you can believe that.  But for pure  boogie, it wasn't Foghat as we knew and love.

Foghat in the 80's pretty much came to be two different bands; one with Dave Peverett and Erik Cartwright leading one band and Roger Earl lead another band (with Bryan Bassett on guitar).  In fact I saw Foghat play at 1989 Oklahoma City rock fest  and thought that both Dave and Roger was playing together.  Rhino Record managed to get the record rights and put out the first 8 albums out and Best Of Foghat that gave us butchered edits of their hits (Slow Ride, Fool For The City come to mind)  A Best of Volume 2 continue to mine what was left off the first (including more 45 edits of What A Shame, Live Now Pay Later and even Take Me To The River got butchered) but it's worth getting of the Ubangi Stomp that was produced by Dave Edmunds but left off the first album and a Peverett penned All I Want For Christmas Is You.

The surprise of 1993 was that the original lineup (Meaning Price, Peverett, Earl and Tony Stevens) got back together with Rick Rubin to produce a brand new album but Rubin baled out due to other commitments and Nick Jameson came back to produce The Return Of The Boogie Men for Modern/Atlantic records which was their highest charting album since Boogie Motel, hell they even reunited with Tom Dawes on the acoustic version of that album which we really didn't need.  John Popper from Blues Traveler plays harmonica on Louisiana Blues which originally goes back to Blue Matter  in the Savoy Brown years.  Sadly that turned out to be the last original album from the Boogie Men, although they did record a live album Road Cases for K Tel in the late 90's.

In 2000, Dave Peverett died from cancer and Rod Price would be dead five years later.  Road Cases was a so so live album with two studio tracks produced by Ron Nevison which was more ballads than boogie.  Sanctuary would issue a live 2 CD Stages set but I'm guessing the first CD may have been Road Cases repackaged.  King Biscuit put out a rocking 1976 Philadelphia set but it's a bit rougher than the 1977 Live Foghat set.   Nevertheless, Roger Earl, kept the band going replacing Price with Bryan Bassett again and former Ted Nugent/Humble Pie vocalist Charlie Huhn replaced the late great Lonesome Dave.  MacGregor returned to replace Stevens on the Foghat Live 2 CD.  Family Joules came out in 2003 and more rock than blues.  Last year Foghat returned to the blues on Last Train Home a album that they had help with Eddie Kirkland playing on a couple numbers.  For a blues album it's okay but borrows way too much on the blues songs that Peverett sang and done better on the older albums.  But they're still promoting it on their own so I'll give them credit on that.  The major labels would have moved on to something else a week later.

Perhaps the myth of Lonesome Dave and Rod The Bottle Price will fade into memory but in my recollections of seeing them playing at the 5 Seasons Center 30 years ago, he was a excellent showman who got into the crowd interaction which took him to the higher level.  As long as there's classic rock radio Slow Ride and I Just Want To Make Love To You will continue to keep the checks coming in.  Even though Roger Earl remains the sole original member left performing, Craig Mac Gregor's back in the fold and Foghat still remains a great band to see and Bryan Bassett is a underrated guitarist.   Sure, they're a running joke to the uncool modern rock fools but back in the 70's Foghat was as good as it got when it came to see great live boogie.  And still is today.