Saturday, December 31, 2011

Crabb Bits: Sonic Bye Bye, 50 degrees

This is the final blog of year.  I promise you!  And it's 50 degrees here in Iowa as I type this out.  Fifty degrees on the last day of December!  True it's windy but it's a warm wind.  Mother Nature has been very good to us this fall and the good weather has continued into the first week of Winter, no white Christmas but hey we had five straight years of white Christmas.  Doesn't hurt to have a green Christmas from time to time.


The closures have been endless around here and before the year is through, the K Mart on the SW side of Cedar Rapids and now Sonic Burgers off 33rd have now closed their doors, in the case of K Mart they're slated to close next year.  The Sonic place is kind of a surprise since it was only there for three years, replacing the old BP gas station.  The reason given was lack of business and Sonic tried many things to get people to come in.  The happy hour drink specials of 44 OZ of pop for a dollar come to mind.  But most of the time the place looked like a ghost town.  It's a shame really, I would go there for supper on my lunch break a few times.  Hard times for the food establishments, unless you're McDonald's. http://business380.com/2011/12/29/one-c-r-sonic-restaurant-closed/

With WMT FM moving over to Country radio and becoming KISS 96 Country (how original that was), there is talk from somebody that KOKZ might be going country but I think the guy who told me that may have his facts messed up.  I don't forsee KOKZ doing country for next year, although it that is the case, the Adult Comptemory Format is dying, just like the popular Train song Hey Soul Sister although the kind new tennants at Books A Million had to serenade us with that song.  105.7 did go to a country format but it bombed and they went back to oldies rock (now 80's 90's oldies).  The future of radio was determined way back in 1996, when The Telecom Act enabled Cumulus and Clear Channel to buy up all radio stations and program them the same way possible.  Which is why Ipods Ipads, Smartphones are playing something besides the same old tired bullshit that the world is sick of but gives great royalty checks to Jimmy buffet, or Guns N Roses and Train Soul Sister.  Why Clear Channel would change the country format is to try to get ratings away from Cumulus' owned KHAK, which is basically the same country crap that is being played.  Jason Aldean isn't country no matter how many times he name checks Johnny Cash, just like Jason Thompson name checking Waylon.  If Waylon was still around he'd kick Jason's can and teach him what real country is.  If Clear Channel was real serious about being different they should have done the country format at 99.3 Dyersville.  It's mostly 80s and 90s country but they do sneak in a Roy Acuff or Buck Owens song from time to time.

The future of radio keeps getting worse and worse and Cumulus and Clear Channel sugarcoat it to make you think it's different but still, put sugar and honey on a turd and it still is a turd.  Which is what both of these so called Radio Monopoly Mofos are all about.  Change for something better? No it isn't, all it is Clear Channel of what they want you to hear and bullshit you into thinking its different.  But the damage is done, and no matter how much anybody would want to repeal Telecom Act of 96 (nobody does really, all about the $$$), we can't go back to the experimental days of what the DJ's would think you would like to hear, rather than Clear Channel/Cumulus bean counters telling you what you want to hear.  That's why there's a off switch and you can't take that away Clear Channel/Cumulus hacks.



Thursday, December 29, 2011

End Of Month Thoughts For The Year and Summary

Funny how this year we started out with a foot of snow on the ground and endless cold but as I write this it is a balmy 45 degrees today.  No snow on the ground anywhere, the purist hate it but I enjoy this.  It kinda reminds me of the winter of 25 years ago when my folks said that the weather was nice and warm while I was in Arizona. Despite what Nicole says I don't think I complained about this weather at all.  The fall weather was beautiful and the first  week of winter have been anything but.

It's been a year to remember.  We bitched about the floods of 2008 and the winters of 2007 to 2010 of ice, blizzards and below zero and I figure it was our reward for hanging in there and putting up with the bad weather of yore.  I'm still certain we'll get our share of blizzards in the forthcoming months but for now I'll take this with a smile and a Thank You To God for his blessing of this wonderful weather.

I was in Oxford Junction yesterday, taking the day off after having lunch with Nicole and going to work only to find that they were sending us back out to Packaging again so I asked for the day off and decided to pay somebody a visit.  It took me a while to get there, after all I went on a blind dare and drive and found the place of question.  Oxford Junction is off 136, on the way to the 61 Drive In on the outskirts of Maquoketa and around the banks of the Wapsipinicon.  I found the grave yard and spent about 15 minutes paying my last respects to Mark Lasack, who died last month from a heart attack.  Mark and I go back to the days of Printing in Iowa City before we got moved back to Cedar Rapids and for years was the go to man if we wanted our IBM printers fixed right.  He was a colorful man, we talked sports but like myself he had a explosive temper that probably caused his heart attack at age 60.  I didn't make his funeral but if I had a day off I would go visit his gravesite.  To which I did yesterday.   His resting place overlooks 136 to the west, just like  Glarice Kula's site overlooks the hillsite on her gravesite in the countryside.

The major story of this year here was how many people I knew that died. No fewer than five of them were co workers at NCS/Pearson, beginning with Jim Rogers in May, Patrick Marzen in July, Smoe Pyrick in September and another co worker in packaging one month later.  I hate going to funerals or visitations, seeing somebody lie in state and I break down too, did that when me and Shannon embraced on Rogers' funeral.  But the one that shattered me most this year was Dennis Pusateri's passing in July.  I guess I'll be forever hunted by the fact that I saw him three weeks before at Hy Vee on my way to get some nasty Chinese food and the shits and see him in the cafeteria, bullshitting away and then on my out seeing him get on his motorcycle and ride off to the sunset.  And thinking next time....and three weeks later reading his obit and crying my eyes out the next three days before going to his visitation.  But thankfully he was cremated and they had hard rock music playing in the background, the way he liked it.  Me and Dennis go back to the days of Pell Grant key entry when we were trading cassette tapes and cds while working and basically driving the heads up the wall at that time.

Not only Dennis passed but three weeks afterwards, his mom also passed away and like before I made the drive to visit her gravesite to where she's reunited with her husband and Matt Pusateri, whose murder in 1988 was never solved, the cycle was complete and the reunion in heaven was complete.  But I'm sure on the backroads of the desert rides the spirit of Dennis.

We buried too many good people this year and hopefully that won't be the case for next year but I'm sure death will return in one way or another as people I know go into the great beyond, which probably means that I'll be making another road trip to visit their resting place when the time comes.

On the other hand more things came to an end too.  Beaker Street, the Clyde Clifford underground radio show that was a fixture for many many years ended broadcast on the first week in February and the R Smith Sunday Night Show followed suit in July.   Gordon Anderson leaves Collector's Choice Music and moves over to Real Gone Records.  Sony Music kills off Arista Records, 107.1 becomes a faceless Top Forty Radio station, Mix 96.5 becomes another copy cat Country station.  Adult Contemporary is losing out to New Country and nobody cares about rock and roll anymore.  And EMI gets sold off to Sony Music for Publishing and Universal for music.  And Cumulus and Clear Channel Radio continues to fuck us over with the same old shit and call it something new and exciting.  Only KMRY remains the go to channel although they continue to bore us with fucking Margaritaville every other hour.

For the most part, I did my three trips to Madison,  got to see first hand the hostile union people as they shouted out "recall Walker", the GOP governor they elected and the first thing he did was take away most of their collective bargaining agreement.  So got to see the protestors and had some Ian's Pizza by the slice that they were talking about, then moved on to Pawn America to see if I can find some dollar cds that may have been overlooked by the bargain hunters out there.  Mostly I stayed close by with adventures to Dubuque and Iowa City most and not much anyplace else.  As long as we had our own Half Priced Books, we actually did fine.  On the recommendation of Nicole I did plan another Arizona trip and went out there for a week, spending half of the time in Tucson and the rest in Chandler/Mesa and not much into Phoenix.  I went to Tombstone and for the first time it didn't rain there.  The sun shined 99 percent of the time.  I didn't head up north, but did spend a afternoon at Prescott to familar myself with what Hastings had to offer for music.  This time I paced myself and stayed south and east of Phoenix and not into Flagstaff or Kingman.  Arizona wasn't planned but I did go and glad I went but the time flew by more faster than I wanted it too.  And 25 years ago I moved down there for a better life, now I just visit it a week out of every year to think what could have been.

Sportwise, all my teams sucked.  Chargers, Cubs, Orioles, Arizona State, Iowa Hawkeyes, sucked.  The Sun Devils did the biggest collaspe in their career and it cost Dennis Erickson his job and his reputation. Chargers underachieved which means that Norm Turner will be going bye bye and hopefully AJ Smith whose done nothing but tear apart a team that could have gone to the Super Bowl.  And trading away Drew Brees forever made me hate Ass Jack Smith forever, whereas Brees rewrote the passing record mark set by Dan Marino, Philip Rivers was being sacked time and time again by a offense line that was patch work at best.   The Cubs stunk from the word go and would not win 2 games in a row till July and while the Orioles were in first place the first week of the season, somebody forgot to tell them to play the rest of the season.  To which they return to their familiar surrounding of last place again.  And the Hawkeyes?  The Basketball team is still rebuilding, the football defense was subpar and Minnesota kept Floyd Of Rosedale for another year.  So it goes.

The biggest news of the year had to be Nicole moving down here.  She came down in May and moved in for a bit before getting her own place a month later.  To which I split time there.  Love is a work in progess, and yes we do have our good and so so moments.  I'm sure for next year I'll be moving some of my inventory down to her place for a feel of home, but as I have found out the hard way, I do have a lot of crap and clutter and her place is bit more neat and tidy.   Unfortunately, the place that hired her was a joke that kept changing the rules and regulations and eventually she got let go before being there three months, another slap in the face from a worthless company that doesn't care about their employees.  Home Choice Care sucks and I do not recommend them for anything, except shitting in a paper bag, setting it on fire and leaving it at their front doorstep and having Kolleen stepping on it and getting a foot-full of poo.  Nevertheless, Nicole paid a big price for coming here but when you're in love with a person obsessed with music and blogging about music, she made the ultimate sacrifice.   But when she flashes her big pudding grins, you can't help but love her too.

As we look forward to a new year and a new beginning, there is no idea what I will be doing blog wise or struggling through like just like the rest you do.   Or deciding what to do on the future of the RS CRABB MUSIC REVIEW ETC, or wonder if keep doing a top ten is worth the effort, or to comment on some forgotten band that isn't the Beatles or Stones or Led Zeppelin.  Sometimes it's a obsession to get Universal to reissue The Brains album but knowing we probably failed since that asshole label doesn't want to reissue it but they'll reissue Motley Crue ten more times or Elvis Costello or rebuy the Rolling Stones output.   And Life does overrule music anymore.   The past fall we been stuck with lying assed Republicans trying to get our vote and wishing we can keep Newt Gingrich or Good Hair Rick Perry out of here.  After the 4th, we can be done with them, till spring when we'll get attack ads again as they try to replace Obama.  I'm not impressed with Obama but at least he got Bin Laden.  I think we are all tired of the lies and BS that the Speaker Of The House Boehner said if elected he was going to create jobs and all he and Eric Cantor done is create headaches for everybody.  And the price of gas continues to go up everyday.  Basically music isn't as it used to be, the new stuff while okay isn't for the ages and I doubt if I'll be playing Bon Iver or Fleet Foxes or Iron & Wine and even the new Wilco a year from now anyway.

The new year will probably see me do my usual in terms of finding bargains and whatever is found in the cheap bins.  Dubuque did lose Borders but the replacement is Books A Million or BAM and basically musicwise they're not a lot different from Borders.  In fact when you go there in Dubuque it is still the same atmosphere in a way but it's really not the same.  But it does keep me going there a bit more often than say, Davenport.  And they still have Moondog Music and CD's 4 Change to which the owner gave me a box of records without covers.  I did have a talk with him about saying that someday, there won't be a record store, we'll probably be sitting at home listening to it all of what we found over the years and he agreed with me.  There's not a lot of us still around, but they're out there.  I've seen a few of them in the bargain section of HP Books.......

This month has been the best viewership with over 1,600 views from y'all out there.  I like to acknowledge some of the ones out there for at least commenting over the years, Tad, Drew, Rastro, my three amigos from Blogspot.  Jeff Higgins at Groove Sandwich for adding a link and commenting from time to time on Twitter.  Starman who from the old Roost at About.com and later MSN who continued to support his favorite music and his comments are always welcomed.  The Vinyl King, who hasn't been online much since being married to Connie earlier this year but remains very music know how.  The musicians that stopped in, Mike Eldred for the support and the T shirt to his latest album and of course Tom Gray of Delta Moon who used to be The Brain for The Brains but for the past decade part of the roots rock blues boogie of Delta Moon.  If you're reading this Tom, I'm going to do my damnest to get that Brains album back in print, if it's the only music contribution that I ever make despite being the leader of The Townedgers (from 1983-2008).  To Dennis Pusateri, from the great beyond, miss you brother, we never know how we miss our friends till they're gone.  Live for the moment cuz tomorrow you might not be here.

And to Nicole, the woman most likely to drive me insane, make me smile, laugh and cuss at the same instant.  A definite version of love that isn't perfect but a perfect love isn't perfect but perhaps  last a lifetime.  And to which has survived longer than any of Sinead OConnor's 4 marriages and whatever Kim Kardashian passes for love.  My love isn't perfect but I do love you Nicole.

And to the rest of y'all, thanks for your support, see ya next year if and when the moment arrives.....

"You're On Your Own"....Mark Lasack  1951-2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top Ten Of The Week-The Last One Of The Year

This week's top ten is the final one.  So it was decided that we would have some special guests who would contribute their own songs for a change of pace.

1.  21st Century Schizoid Man-King Crimson 1969  Selected by Pat Travers.
For today's "Musical Rx" I have a piece that sounds as good to me today as it did when I first heard it. 21st century indeed! Mike Giles plays the most insane and awesome drums. Gregg Lake on bass and vocals (and what a vocal sound! All nasty and narly. Just the way I like it!). Robert Fripp on guitar. Wow! I met RF in Miami a 100 years ago. He was cool but very serious. So this one is a little longer than most tunes but it's worth hanging in there. What a studio performance this is. Can you tell I really like this one? And now some "Heavy Metal Prog-Rock"! King Crimson..."21st Century Schizoid Man". Cheers, PT

2.  Messin The Blues-Robin Trower 1976  Selected by Al Kooper

Catapulted out of Procol Harum, guitarist Trower was heavily influenced as a player by Jimi Hendrix. With bassist/vocalist James Dewar and drummer Bill Lordan, this track was composed and recorded by the trio in 1976 from the album Long Misty Days, Trower's fifth. This has the hypnotic guitar figure rolling throughout the entire selection with Dewar’s strong vocal and Robin's Hendrixian ascents.

3.  We're On Our Way-Chris Hodge 1972  Selected by TAD.

"We're On Our Way," another old favorite, which I still can't believe sounds so much like a T. Rex track. Far as I know, Hodge never did an album....

4.  Up In Flames-Coldplay 2011  Selected by Jeff Higgins (Groove Sandwich)

I thought I heard a rather interesting drum beat. I soon discovered that it wasn’t the recording at all. My brain was dangling from the end of a noose and its feet were kicking the inside of my skull in its final fit of desperation. It could no longer take the inane ramblings of this overpaid butthole hell-bent on robbing every one of his listeners of their money. My only hope is that my brain will one day be reincarnated as a snowboarding velociraptor with a machine gun or something equally awesome. And the next person to ask me if I’ve seen their new video where they dress up like elephants is going to receive swift and brutal justice courtesy of my wiffle bat.

5.  Smells Like Teen Spirit-Nirvana 1991  Selected by Slant Music Staff

For a song that has long been championed as the theme of a specific crowd of slacker youth, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" endures beyond the ownership of any one subgroup. Kurt Cobain's self-admitted attempt at a pop song achieved many things (helping to bring grunge from the sweaty depths of the mosh pit to the radio-friendly mainstream, launching Nirvana into Gen-X superstardom, and so on), but perhaps most importantly, it set the tone for all alternative music that followed. Its stuttering riff line instantly recognizable, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is akin to Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" in raw industry impact, pushing not just the rock genre, but the entire music world forward. "Here we are now," Cobain announces, "entertain us!"

6.  Go Away-Living Colour 1990  Selected By Occupy Iowa City Movement to Michelle Bachmann

“She’s all about families unless they need health care cause if they can’t afford it, then they’re completely screwed,” and “Michele Bachmann does not stand with the working people of the land. She’ll sell us out to her corporate friends in a box of religion — this madness has to end! You’re not wanted here so go, just go.”

7.  The Story Of Bo Diddley-The Animals 1963  Selected by Pat Travers (Again)

One of the most influential albums for me was The Animals "Animal Tracks". It was the first LP I ever owned. I guess I was about 10. I learned all the lyrics on this record and can still sing along with them to this day. Especially this one "The Story Of Bo Diddley". It's about a fictional meeting of Bo and The Animals in New Castle England. This is really cool now that Sandy Gennaro has the authentic Bo Diddley experience for me to ask about. So see if you can groove to this Rockin' Rhythm by the Animals channeling Bo Diddely in "The Story Of Bo Diddley" Cheers, PT

8.  I Just Want To Make Love To You-Etta James 1961  Selected by Mark Stegall

Etta James` B-side of At Last (#47 in 61) was I Just Want To Make Love To You. Read recently that she is very ill, wish her the best.

9.  Christian Rock-John Moreland & The Dust Bowl Souls Selected by Nine Bullets

Look up “prolific” in the dictionary. There is a good chance John’s picture is there. In the past 12 months, John has released 25 songs. Two full CDs, a two song EP and a 3 song EP. Most artists are lucky to get a decent 10 songs in 12 months. Of course, your first inclination is to think “there has got to be a lot of filler in there.” HA! I dare you to listen to any song on Everything the Hard Way and not think you have just heard the greatest lyric ever written.


10. Don't Beat My Ass (With A Baseball Bat) Goo Goo Dolls 1987 Selected by Martin Daniels.

Dare to be different!

Thanks to all that helped compiled this top ten.

And thanks to all who have supported me by reading them. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Crabb Updates: What I Missed, FTM, Mix 96.5 RIP

On the subject of:

Things that I missed in terms of new releases, I missed the Rainmakers' 25 On, which came out in March.  Steve Phillips is missed but Bob Walkenhorst picks up where he left off, not off the underachieving 1994 Skin but rather 1989's Good And Bad News....Radney Foster and Bill Lloyd regrouped for the first time in over 20 years It's Already Tomorrow, which is more power pop than actual country.  Then again Radney Foster can really do no wrong.  Bill Lloyd tends to go a bit overboard from what I have heard.....The Feelies Here Before, I had this on CD and it should be in my top 20 best of, but I overlooked it due to the digipak.

What to look forward in 2012.....New Van Halen simply of the fact of David Lee Roth back if and when it ever gets released, Interscope it's supposed to be on but I also heard rumours of it being on Columbia.  Also, new Alice In Chains, to which I did like Black Gives Way To Blue a lot better than Facelift or the Tripod album.  Black Sabbath on Universal/Republic later in the year if anybody is still around to hear it. 

Farce The Music has their most disappointing albums of 2011 and dammed if they had Roger Clyne and The Jayhawks in that order.  He also has the worst country singles of the year and they are horrible beyond belief, most notably that Kristen Chenowich garbage.  Fucking country dumb as ever http://www.farcethemusic.com/2011/12/most-disappointing-albums-of-2011.html?spref=fb

Farce The Music continues to be one of my favorite sites and me and him been a part of the Twitter and Facebook side of things.  And I enjoy kicking his ass on Bejeweled too! Bwahahahahahaha!  Nevertheless he's dead on country and Americana.  Don't agree with what he says sometimes but he mostly on the same page, given how boring the new Roger Clyne and Jayhawks albums were this year.

Tad's best of is here at this link http://tadsbackupplan.blogspot.com/2011/12/509-nothing-but-beast.html I must say I haven't paid much attention to Adele's 21 album, since everybody has given it widespread love but I'm sure I have heard Rolling In The Deep and wasn't that impressed with it.  TAD has been one of the biggest supporters of my blogs next to Drew's Odds And Sods and without them, my viewership would be about 100, most if not all coming from Domur Ru.


Green Christmas?  Yes it was here, no White Christmas, first time since 2006.  I wasn't complaining.

RIP Motorhead Sherwood, tenor sax player for The Mothers Of Invention.  He died on Christmas Day. Think I will play King Kong for a tribute.

Mark Prindle has announced that he is retiring from writing new music reviews at his website, claiming burnout.  Me thinks he'll be back eventually.  Hell, I been telling myself that I might get out of this too but everytime the new year rolls around, I'm back composing a Top Ten Of The Week.

Looks like we might hit 1,500 views and The Rock n Roll Brains Blog is over 2,000 views.  We get 500 more I'm going to contact the folks at Universal to reissue The Brains CD, since I believe that if they can print up as many CDs as many views that I'm sure they can sell them out.  Might even tell Andy McKie to take a look at the blog and see what he thinks.    The traffic sources continue to point out that Domur Ru is still leading the damn views, which makes me wonder if anybody does read them.  On another note the Domur Ru Blog has bypassed the Sick Of Summer Top Ten Blog like it was standing still and has it sights on My GF Thinks I Should Blog More Often.  On another subject, the Top Ten Alternatives is bout ready to drop off the charts...... Still getting a lotta traffic from Dumor Ru, but haven't clicked on that anymore but somebody is.  Thank you and fuck you Dumor Ru.

Another radio station format change, this comes on WMT FM  Mix 96.5, which is now known as KISS country and is simulcasted with the Anamosa radio station.  Credit Clear Channel for this big change.  It also means that Clear Channel will revamp 95.7 into something else although they might try for the classic country somewhat like 99.3 out of Dyersville.  Basically, I really don't need another New Country station in my car radio, I rather much go with 99.3 but their signal falls apart once you leave Anamosa and is spotty around Marion.  KKSY, the Anamosa station I do have on my stereo at home but only it's the only signal pickup here.  The baby boomers of today prefer country over whatever passes for rock music or autotuned top forty, they have no use for either and rap has alienated them cold.  So, it usually the overplayed classic of The FOX or the Craptastic KDAT, or the erratic KMRY.  Me, I go with my music collection.  Mix 96.5 has been Adult Comtempory  ever since changing from Muzak in the mid 80s and between Holloween and Christmas, the overplayed Christmas Crap.  Good riddence Mix 96.5, yeehaw KISS Country.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Crabb Bits: Happy Holidays, Old Country Buffet, BS Logic from Lisa Davis, Lefsetz

Happy Holidays, or Merry Christmas.

It is a balmy 35 degrees, sunny and no snow on the ground.  Somewhere out there KCRG's Joe Winters is crying in his beer as he heads up north to Alaska or Garden City Kansas to where they might have the white stuff on the ground.  First time since 2005 that we will not have a white Christmas.  Okay by me, given the last two Christmas to which I had to pick Nicole up from the Airport with about a half foot of snow on the highways.  Yes, it looks strange being brown all over but I'm sure next month when the 51st birthday rolls around there will be snow on the ground.  Much to my disdain

I recall that the winters of 85-86 was so awful, blizzards every day, and when it didn't snow it didn't get above zero in that fateful winter that I decided to take my chances out in Arizona that year.  Turns out that the winter up here was brown and above normal as well.   It was a paradise at first when I moved to Chandler to live with my Aunt, who wasn't thrilled about me moving down there but for the first couple months we did along.  But couldn't find a job without all the running around BS that the employers would give ya and when I applied at Discover that year, which was a fledgling up and coming credit card company the woman that gave me an interview was all smiles and winking at me which lead me to think I was going to get on but in the end somehow it didn't connect.  Perhaps I should have at least gotten a date or blowjob from her since she so interested in my job potential.   So basically that winter, I spent doing odd weird jobs for Kelly Services (who have yet to come through for my GF since she moved down here), helping tear down a outdated discount store or picking up garbage in the landfill.   Enjoyed the record stores a lot down there, found many great albums but problem was couldn't get a job anywhere.  It was worse during Christmas when you get these damn fools trying to head you up for money, such friendly desperate college students coming up saying "you been caught smiling bla bla bla, could you please help donate a fiver to a worthy cause" to which Sucker Smith would do that but after the third time from a different person in as many days it got to be fucking tiring as I would make a 50 yard sprint to the car after being at Tower Records and peeling away.  And the pity the poor sucker who I finally let into by saying "Jesus Christ, can you fucking people wait till I get a GD job?!?"  They won't hire you down there but boy when they want a donation they come running.  So after that five month excursion of no job, no prospects and a pissed off Aunt throwing me out of the house, I had to come back to a place where I knew I can get a job, but at the same time have to endure what Mother Nature throws at us during the winter.  And so far this year has been brown, warm and sunny and great to me.

For cheap entertainment I continue to read the daily dose of bullshit from Bob Lefsetz who continues to badmouth us CD and record buyers.  44 percent of people have Smart Phones guess who doesn't.  Yep I'm addicted to the internet just like you dear reader.  And I cannot get shit done around real time land.  I can see his point of the great internet jukebox in the modem, MP3s don't take up space like albums and cd's too.  Or books for that matter.  All you need to do is buy batteries instead.   I did download a album a couple weeks ago, John Moreland's Everything The Hard Way and although the sound is quaint, I still wouldn't mind having a actual album or cd of this recording.   But as we continue to shut down music stores and book stores in favor of staying home and downloading, there are still some that like to find music.  The art of anticipating of a album that grabs our attention.  There ain't too many of us people around.  Lefsetz is ahead of the game for sure, but not everybody can keep up or afford the next big thing.  Go find it and embrace it Lefsetz but fucking don't shove the technology down our throats and screaming about a revolution that isn't coming right now since Spotify isn't on the fucking radio.  It's still on the net, instead of buying new shit Bob, buy a fucking radio station and turn it into a Spotify outlet.  Then I'll listen.

But I can see the fairweatherness that is the major labels and I have a big complaint about these movers and shakers who become followers on Twitter and then unfollow.  This is where Lisa Davis Music comes in.  Don't know she was but she followed me on Twitter so I return the favor, only to find that she unfollowed me a few days afterwards.  Who in the hell is she you ask, well she's a A & R Consultant to the labels (Atlantic, Interscope Universal) which is why the label is in the dumps I guess.  I'm sure she's not into developing new artists for the long run but rather for the hit of the day, the flavor of the moment and then discards them when things don't work out.  In short, one album and done in this day and age.  Basically I took a look at her twitter site and my fears were confirmed.  The usual inspirational bullshit of rah rah.  Success and Failure both require work. Or Never forget where you came from or you won't get where you going.  Or here's a good one....When you give up on yourself everyone loses!  Kinda like when the label gives up on you when the album bombs eh Lisa?    I love music just as much as you do, maybe even more that I care about the actual band and song rather than hits now with autotuner.    As for this helping tweet Identify the solution and stop focusing on identify the problems, best not to associate yourself with a label and shitty 360 deal and then be a slave to the label like being on Curb Records.   I'll give her points on some helpful things but for the most part, if you gonna to follow me on Twitter hon, you better be it in the long haul.  Once you unfollow and I find out about it, you're going to get called out and the end result will not pretty.  Basically her website is a consultant site.  One thing I'll give her points on is this thought:  If a label is not willing to compete for your business, they are not worth signing to.   Free advice from somebody that knows and somebody that's been through it all http://www.lisadavismusicgroup.com/#!free-advice    Moving on......(basically folks, being a major label will not guarantee you any airplay judging from the one and done acts that had the misfortune to be in a major label with no clue of what to do with them.  Maybe Lefsetz is right on the major label's demise forthcoming.  Which will happen on the next merger.

Jim Musser has his best of 2011 right here..but that page doesn't exist anymore.

I had comments to say but the computer froze on me and lost that and part of the Lisa Davis rant.  For the most part Musser's music taste are like mine but he's more mainstream Americana than me.  Plus he liked the Nick Lowe album much more than I did.  Looking back at hindsight, I should have perserved his best of 2011.  Musser no longer reviews things for the IC press Citizen, his last post was in early 2015.  He was one of the more trust worthy folks for music around the area.

Finally, Old Country Buffet closed their doors this month, pissing everybody off and including myself.  Old Country Buffet spokesman Nathan Riggs said Thursday the restaurant was at the end of its lease and was closed because of underperformance. "We decided not to renew the lease". said the idiot.  Just like Davenport years ago and Waterloo eh Nate baby.   Old Country Buffet was the only place I went to at Coral Ridge after FYE closed their doors.  But then again, it comes to a matter of choice.  Next time when I am up in Madison if I had to choose Old Country Buffet or Cracker Barrel I'd go with Cracker Barrel.  At least I know they will still be up there and they have better chicken and dumplings too.  I'm sure you'll close that Old Country down to underperfomance too dunderhead.

Finally over 1,300 views has made this month the best ever in viewership. We have a good chance of going over 1,400 or even 1,500!  Rock n Roll And The Brains, clearly out in orbit might hit the 2,000 views mark very soon too.  I'm thinking if we can get that to 2500 views that I'm ready to call the Universal Reissue Staff to get that Brains album reissued since the viewership could translate into sales.  Sorry to say that the Best Of 2011 Records has been a disappointment but the Domur  Ru Blog has been barnstorming the top ten and ready to take over 7th place.  I'm also a bit wondering of why Teenage Depression at 80 views a month ago is now down to 69 as well as Alternatives which lost views too.  I guess we can blame the bad sites of referral (kinda like Domur.Ru) for the decline but haven't seen much budge from the best Records of 2010 and 2009. And My GF Think I Should Blog More Often will not die or go away either.  *sigh*

And happy holidays anyway.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Time Once Again

I want to thank everybody for making this month the most viewed in history.  Let's hope we can keep it going.

For the first time since 2005, we are not going to have a white Christmas.  The weather has been delightfully warm and we didn't have to go slip and sliding on the way to work and other places.  2006 we had the infamous ice storm that took out the power here for 3 days, the next four had to endure foot of snow or ice.  Joe Winters is pissed off, but if he really wants the snow, there's Minneapolis.

For Christmas music this year I went and got Willie Nelson's Pretty Paper and Elvis Christmas Album in the buck bins at Stuff. Etc.  Outside of that I was played the usual, Yuletunes, the Power Pop Christmas album I got last year still sounds fine and of course selected cuts from albums that I enjoy.

Cumulus Radio and Clear Channel really suck at this time of year.  When me and Nicole ate at Green Leaves, the only Chinese place she'll eat at,  they played John Lennon's Happy Xmas (War Is Over) and somebody singing Winter Wonderland which is inescapable I guess.  When I went to get my hair trim at Great Clips, fucking Mix 96.5, played John Lennon over there and...you guessed it, Winter Wonderland.  Which really sets me off and makes me wonder about the mindset of Cumulus Radio or Clear Channel who owns 96.5. (KDAT is Cumulus owned).  We get burned out and sick of hearing the same old Christmas Crap when it begins on November 1 and hangs around till New Year's like bad eggnog.  The Christmas playlist is so GDammed predictable that these yayhoos never bother to change the damn song.  Pure laziness when you have to hear Winter Wonderland in four different versions in a single hour setting.  And then hearing what KDAT did and Mix 96.5 copy cat 10 minutes later shows you how awful radio is. Even more so in the damn Christmas season.  You cannot escape from Rockin Away The Christmas Tree or Jingle Bell Rock.  Never in a era that we have so much music out there and so little outlet to play it on.  It's to the point that I never care to hear any version of Do You Hear What I Hear or Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, or whatever the fuck Mariah Carey is screaming about.  Or Vanessa Williams.  There's much more Christmas music out there for the masses to at least hear than what Clear Channel or Cumulus sticks down our throat.  There's more to life than A Very Special Christmas marathon of the same old same old.  However I was very surprised that KKRQ The Fox played Foghat's Run Run Rudolph.  First time I ever heard it on the radio and I have the 45 too.

Happy Holidays Everybody
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0ms2AwuGkE   Run Run Rudolph By Foghat.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Top Ten Of The Week-Breakthrough!

Hey folks.  We are going have our best month ever in the Crabb Top Ten Site with the most views.  Even though there hasn't been much new stuff the last week, after all it's the end of the year and the only new stuff is rap and we all know how we feel about that.  Slim Dunkins wouldn't approve.  Alas, Dunkins was murdered at his Atlanta Studios while making a video.

For the returnees welcome back to another top ten, to the newbies, I put up 10 songs from various sources to which I was playing over the weekend.  Usually I go from 1954 up to 2011, but sometimes I sneek a song from the 40s or 30s or even the 20's.  Most of the songs come from my rock and roll era which is 1966 to 1984 but then again there's the second decade of my rock and roll era which was 1985 to the present.  Makes sense, hardly but the majority of songs do come from the 1970 to 1998 era and of course new stuff too.  If this was a radio station we would be free form and frustrating to the ones who only want the hits.  Plus the top ten can be used as a reference on all the variety that is out there.  I wouldn't last two seconds in a Cumulus Radio world.  Yes, I love The Beatles or Led Zep just as much as you do or Nirvana, but there's so much more out there, and so little time to hear it all.  But we'll give a try, like we have been the past 9 years.

Oh here's some more bullshit from Bob Lefsetz whose pretty much a relic of a faded past 30 years behind us.http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2011/12/20/year-end-roundup/

Top Ten:

1.  Sky Pilot-Eric Burdon & The Animals 1968   I've been meaning to add this song on the top ten the past month but always seem to forget this when everything is said and done and put up for the world to see.  I remember KWWL playing this on the infamous May 15th tornado that just about wiped out Charles City and Oelwein in that big tornado outbreak.  It was kinda bizarre since 1) the weather was bad and 2) this was the complete 8 minute version and JohnWeider's screaming guitar kinda sounded like the chaos of the tornado happening miles to the north and west of Waterloo to which I was living at the time.  The Animals coming a long way from the Alan Price keyboard driven Ray Charles/John Lee Hooker blues, by then Burdon was the only remaining original member and moving the band toward hippy dippyness.  Sky Pilot has held up quite well over time, however the album The Twain Shall Meet hasn't.  It kinda sucked for me since that was the only decent song off that album (along with Monterrey, Burdon's first person account of that famous Pop Festival).  Burdon would plod on to make two more sub par artifacts of the hippie era  (Every One Of Us and Love Is, which featured a young Andy Summers and an older Zoot Money) both you can live without.

2.  Medicine Man-Buchanan Brothers 1969  In reality they were Cashman, Pistali and West, capable songwriters on their own but on this one hit wonder they became the fictitious brother band that made a great song on Event Records.  I played the hell out of this record so much that my mom actually took the record away and told me to play something else now.  Shows you how much I loved this song.

3.  C'est Si Bon (It's So Good)-Stan Freberg  1953  Known for making some of the most creative commercials of the 50s and 60s, Freberg was a satirist who did a dead on Jack Webb on the Dragnet send ups and they were fun, kinda reminding of one what the Firesign Theater would do later on.  He also did the dumb ditty John & Marsha, which hasn't held up quite well over the years.  But from listening to his Capitol Collector's Series CD of 1990, he comes across hating rock and roll and doing very mean spirited versions of Sh Boom or Heartbreak Hotel.  But then you could perceive in your own way.  Either way he was ahead of his time and even today his Green Christmas song is dead on straight about the commercialization of Christmas.   God bless him anyway.

4.  Little Miss Fortune-Bad Company 1974   The carry over of the Paul Rodgers greatest hits I suppose, this was the B side to Can't Get Enough to which why it didn't make the record of Bad Company is beyond me.  Even if Atlantic would have tacked on this a bonus cut as well as the remake of Easy On My Soul would have not decease the value of that album one little bit.  It would take 25 years for this song to make it on the 2 Cd Bad Company Anthology that Elektra released.

5.  Neighborhood Bully-Bob Dylan 1983   Ah yes, the born again phase was just about over and I think Bob was moving away from the gospel on Shot Of Love.  Infidels, the next album Bob reunited with Mark Knopfler, gets Sly And Robbie on bass and drums and continues to sing about Jesus to which I think this song was written in mind.  But then again with Dylan you never know where he leads.

6.  Hell's Half Acre-Robbie Robertson 1987  Perhaps one of the biggest anticipated and biggest flops, Robbie's first solo album for Geffen had plenty of guest stars on it (U2, Peter Gaberial, BoDeans to name a few) and lots of session players to die for (Tony Levin, Terry Bozzio).  Problem was the pompous sound and intentions of this and the next album Robertson did for Geffen before leaving.  It was one thing to have Rick Danko or Levon Helm and Richard Manuel singing the songs, it's another when Robbie sang.  The guy simply can't sing very well and the album suffered.  I donno, this song and the album does have a certain charm to it, kinda like the overrated Music From Big Pink, but had Robbie done the singing on that album, it would have sounded like the solo album.

7.  Black Sky-Ozark Mountain Daredevils 1974  I am perhaps one of the biggest OMD fans out there but again the reason why I haven't posted many songs is that I tend to forget them.  They came from Springfield Missouri, they played a whole wide variety of instruments and even use a GD wobbly saw on Chicken Train from their glorious classic first album.   They are the midwest answer to The Band but the exception was that everybody could write and sing.

8.  I Haven't Played This Song In Years-Neil Diamond 2001   Love his Bang stuff, like his UNI/MCA stuff and can tolerate about half of his Columbia albums and Three Chord Opera fooled the hell out of me.  Sure he wrote the whole album but he's still in MOR Pop land looking for a hit and not getting any.  I'm also certain that this was the reason why he didn't make it to the RnR HOF till years later.  Jann Wanner may have been punishing him for You Don't Bring Me Flowers.

9.  RnR Hall Of Fame-Thomas Jeffersion Slave Apartments 1995  This pretty much sums up my feeling for that Jann Wanner albatross.  Bombs away on the motherfucker right now.

10.  Ain't Nothing But A House Party-J. Geils Band 1973   They were the real deal back then, hard nosed rock blues boogie, before going new wave and striking it big with Freeze Frame to which they will forever live comfortably on royalty checks.  On this they let loose on a great cover of the Show Stoppers tune to which I did have on 45 years ago.  This got plenty of FM airplay as well.

By the way folks, today is the first day of Winter.  Which means the days will start getting longer again.  Let's rejoice on that.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Crabb Bits: RnR HOF, Kim Jung II, Novak Heating

It's all hash today to quote the late Gus Schrader.

I swear I haven't done anything but in the ratings department, three came from the infamous Dumor Ru site.  No, I didn't click on it but these fuckers will not go away quietly it seems. Just like that 3 more views came from them again on the updates.   On a related subject, Bob Lefsetz continues to repeat himself.  Mostly, http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2011/12/19/10000-hours/ and this http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2011/12/19/reframing-the-debate/

Jeff Tamarkin wrote a note about the rock and roll hall of fame and it's credentials.

Like Toure and Joel Selvin I spent time on the R&R Hall of Fame nominating committee, albeit almost 20 years ago, and like Joel I was kicked off, in my case for writing a guest editorial for "Billboard" on the inequities of the nominating process (which earned me a public tongue-lashing from none other than Phil Spector at my last committee meeting).

Perhaps things have changed since I was involved, but my observations at the time were that the process was anything but democratic. While I’m sure Toure means well with his statement that "rock n roll is meant to be defined by the Hall as the broadest possible definition of that term so all the genres considered pop music are in our purview," therein lies the committee’s biggest problem - the committee is trying to define rock in its own image rather than reflect what history actually defines as rock. I can’t say that I’m all that familiar with Eric B & Rakim, and I’m not one of those who feel rap shouldn’t be included at all, but I think I can safely say that 99% of the audience that has bought rock records and gone to rock concerts over the past half century would have a hard time understanding why that act is considered rock by the committee when so many artists that are indisputably rock by history’s reckoning remain out in the cold. ??The following is a list of artists that have yet to be inducted into the R&R HoF. The majority of the list was supplied to me by the proprietor of a website called the People’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I’ve added a few names myself. Whether all of these deserve induction is questionable, but I think it’s safe to say that the majority of actual rock fans would at least consider these rock. Would they include Eric B & Rakim in this list, not to mention several other artists already inducted (Is ABBA really rock? Is Madonna?). I’m guessing not.

The list of the un-inducted (and mostly un-nominated), to which I’m sure each of your readers can add at least a few blatant oversights:

The B-52s, Badfinger, Black Flag, Blues Project, Roy Brown, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Johnny Burnette & the Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio, The Cadillacs, Glen Campbell, Captain Beefheart, The Cars, The Chantels, Cheap Trick, Chubby Checker, Chicago, Joe Cocker, The Crystals, Dick Dale, The Dead Kennedys, Deep Purple, Def Leppard, Devo, Dick Dale, Dire Straits, The Dominoes, The Doobie Brothers, Electric Light Orchestra, Fairport Convention, Marianne Faithfull, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Peter Gabriel, Grand Funk Railroad, The Grass Roots, The Guess Who, Ronnie Hawkins, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Heart, Herman’s Hermits, The Jam, Jan & Dean, Jethro Tull, Joy Division, Judas Priest, Albert King, Ben E. King, Carole King, King Crimson, Kiss, Al Kooper, Love, John Mayall, The MC5, The Meters, The Steve Miller Band, The Monkees, The Moody Blues, Mott the Hoople, The Neville Brothers, The New York Dolls, Randy Newman, Gram Parsons, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Procol Harum, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Roxy Music, Todd Rundgren, Rush, Otis Rush, Neil Sedaka, The Smiths, Sonic Youth, Steppenwolf, T. Rex, Thin Lizzy, The Turtles, Stevie Ray Vaughan, War, Dionne Warwick, The Marvelettes, Mary Wells, Link Wray, Yes, Warren Zevon, The Zombies

I have a favorite story that I like to tell from my brief tenure on the committee. I think it reflects the committee’s prejudices. At the time I was editor of the record-collecting magazine Goldmine. When word got out that I was serving on the committee I began receiving dozens of letters from readers asking me to place into nomination a favorite artist. I explained that I didn’t have that power but they kept coming at me anyway. Shortly before my second and last nominating committee meeting I received in the mail a petition signed by 5,000 fans of the Moody Blues asking that they be considered. Now, I’m not much of a Moody Blues fan - I like "Go Now" and played that first symphonic album a bunch in college but haven’t really listened to them in the past few decades - but I felt an obligation to at least make the petitioners’ efforts known. So I carted the petition to the meeting and at some point I told the above story, that it was sent to me unsolicited, etc. After the laughter died down one of the big players in the room, the manager of a major rock artist, asked me if I was a fan of the Moody Blues and if I felt they deserved nomination. I replied that I was not a personal fan of the group but that a lot of people obviously do feel they were important enough to be considered. The bigwig immediately shot back with, "Well, if you’re not advocating for them personally, then forget it," and the efforts of the 5,000 died right then and there in that room. Nearly 20 years later the Moody Blues have yet to be nominated.

Personally I’d rather see Link Wray and the Dolls get the recognition, but that’s not the point. That’s my taste and the nominating process needs to not be about taste. Rock ‘n’ roll is not something that can be defined by a bunch of suits and critics meeting once a year to push their own agendas, sell tickets to a dinner and plan a TV show. The history of rock is not subject to filtering by a committee. It’s something that has been defined by record buyers, concert-goers, magazine readers, radio listeners, club people - fans, the people who decide what is rock and what isn’t - for some six decades now. And no amount of wishin’ and hopin’ is going to convince that audience that Eric B & Rakim belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Jeff Tamarkin

BEST POINT OF VIEW:

Rock ‘n’ roll is not something that can be defined by a bunch of suits and critics meeting once a year to push their own agendas, sell tickets to a dinner and plan a TV show. The history of rock is not subject to filtering by a committee. It’s something that has been defined by record buyers, concert-goers, magazine readers, radio listeners, club people - fans, the people who decide what is rock and what isn’t - for some six decades now. And no amount of wishin’ and hopin’ is going to convince that audience that Eric B & Rakim belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

This kind of idealism is probably got Jeff knocked off the RnR HOF committee.  Rock and roll is sex and drugs and fucking in the street rebellion, not kiss the ass of Jann Wanner or selling out to beer commercials or Cumulus Radio or MTV, which doesn't play most videos.  And Eric B and Rakim shouldn't be in the RnRHOF, if they are, just rename it the Jann Wanner's Favorite Music Hall Of Fame.  And fuck him anyway.

It's not been a good year for Terrorists or outdated Dictators and you can add Kim Jung II to the list of the deceased and goodbye and good riddance.  The Great Gook Leader suffered a heart attack on a train ride at age 69.  I'm sure the inner circle will miss the Great Gook as I call him, but he was nothing more than a clueless Communist dictator who was paranoid of the fact that the US was going to invade North Korea at any minute and this blind logic finally blew up his heart.  I'm sure the inner circle and the crying newcaster will miss the GREAT LEADER (bah) but the majority of starving North Koreans would like nothing more than a more sympathetic leader with a bit more freedom than what they had or what little they did have.  And so it goes.

The San Diego Chargers put on their best game of the year but we had other problems.  Namely the motor to the heater was burning up and making hideous noises and of course dealing with an upset GF and a frazzled boyfriend who had no idea what the hell to do.  Enter Novak Heating And Cooling to the rescue.  We placed an Emergency call at around 4 AM, somebody called back 10 minutes later and said somebody would call us at around 8 oclock, which they did and the repairman was out by 11 and replaced the Motor to which the bearings were just about shot and and the heater motor was only days to live.  Thank our lucky stars that the temps were not 15 below and blizzard like conditions like they usually are in December.  We caught a break with above normal temps and fairly nice weather.  Unfortunately, we put our trust into a former heating company that had some old coot that should have retired and said everything looked all right to him and then left and we took his word.  And the old coot should have retired.

Listen folks, when we like our music in winter, we like a bit of heat to keep things nice and toasty and the fine folks at Novak Heating & Air Conditioning didn't let us down or kept out out in the cold like Old Coot Heating Inc. (not the actual company).  They explain the situation, and they took care of it and they should great care of keeping the customer satisfied.  A big Crabb salute to the kind Novak Repairman, who even wiped his feet at the door before coming in.  http://www.novakheating.com/

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Paul Rodgers

Funny how we were talking about Bad Company that it came to my attention that this Saturday, Mr. Rodgers turned 62 years young today and can still sing with the rest of the young whippersnappers out there.  From his days with Free to Bad Company to The Firm, The Law and Queen you can pretty much say he's done it all.  From the overplayed (All Right Now, Can't Get Enough) to the lesser known Rodgers has been my favorite all time rock vocalist.  I even made a old cassette mixtape of his best stuff.  It's hard to do a complete 10 best, far too many great songs with him on it but I'll give you a little indication of my favorite moments of Paul Rodgers and his track history.

1.  The Hunter (Ton Of Sobs)  The year was 1969 I think and Free was about to get their foot into the door of rock and roll.  Their first album was produced by Guy Stevens (Mott The Hoople, Clash fame).  Free most of the time was a lot more slower and plodding blues than Bad Company was but still with the bash of Kirke's drums, Paul Kossoff's screaming lead guitar and Andy Fraser's thumping bass they do justice to the Albert King classic.  The studio is sloppy fun but FM radio played the live version a lot more.

2.  Wishing Well  (Heartbreaker)  To me the best Free album wasn't Fire And Water but rather their 1973 farewell Heartbreaker, played by a band that was tearing apart at the edges.  Kossoff wasn't well half the time and Fraser had departed, so it was Rodgers to carry on with Kirke in band and John Bundrick on keyboards and a Japanese bass player in Tesui.  Credit Andy Johns for that foreboding sound and Rodgers vocals to which may have been written for Paul Kossoff's drug problems.  Got played a lot on FM radio too although it was released as a single.  Never found it but I did find the followup Travelin In Style on 45.

3.  Easy On My Soul (Heartbreaker)  Very un Free like, mostly keyboard driven and sounding more closer to Moody Blues than actual blues, this probably is my favorite track off Heartbreaker.  Even though Simon Kirke does play a bit of sloppy drums on this song, it is sloppy fun.   Later redone as Bad Company as a more blues driven sound but only made it to the B Side of Movin On (later on The Bad Company Anthology).

4.  Don't Let Me Down (Bad Company)   In terms of classic rock, Bad Company's first album remains their best and every track is very good and radio ready with the exception of The Way I Choose, which was so so at best and hardly anybody plays or mentions it.  This was an album cut (no single) but it got plenty of radio play back in the 70s although Cumulus Radio forbids their stations of playing it.  Another slow ballad but it benefits for Sue And Sunny sweet backing vocals and guest star Mel Collins' sax playing with compliments Mick Ralphs lead.

5.  Honey Child (Running With The Pack)  Bad Company enjoyed some great singles along the way and as you can tell I like the lesser known better than the hits since they don't get played much.  This was one of them, off RWTP, you heard it all before in different versions but hey I don't care.  Couldn't find the single so had to buy the album (eventually I did find the 45 years later, in Arizona of course).

6.  Gone Gone Gone (Desolation Angels)  What make Paul Rodgers so great was that he can make an average song sound so much better and this one was written by Boz Burrell.  Follow up single to Rock And Roll Fantasy.  Believe it or not The FOX actually played this song a few times this year.  Cumulus Radio ain't going to like that, play the overplayed or ELSE.

7.  Electricland (Rough Diamonds)  The worst Bad Company album with Rodgers was that the majority of songs off that album were boring.  It took them 3 years to follow up Angels with this?  No wonder they decided to take a break.  But this is one of Rodgers' finest songs ever and it did chart somewhere in the top 100.  And for some reason Elektra decided not to include this on the 2 CD Anthology which I say buyer beware.

8.  Closer (The Firm)  Perhaps a change in scenery and bands would help Paul.  After all he got Jimmy Page on guitar.  Which probably meant they were doomed to fail since expectations were high.  Radioactive was the hit but it seems to me that the lyrics were just thrown together, still I play it though.  Perhaps the star of this band was neither Paul or Jimmy but Tony Franklin who plays fretless bass and could do a good Jaco Pactorius.

9.  Tear Down The Walls (Mean Business)  Don't know about you but I like Mean Business better than I did the first album.  I guess Atlantic did issue this as a single but never seen it before, but there was a video for it and MTV played it about a couple times.  My favorite track off this album.

10.  Seagull (Bad Company)  It ends the album on a beautiful and nice acoustic note and over the years Rodgers have performed this solo or with Bad Company to which he does a good version on the latest Live Bad Company CD that came out on the budget Sony Extended Versions loss leader.  You can tell Rodgers got the groove when he continues to strum and sings to the end.  It doesn't get any better than that.

There's so many great songs out there done by Paul and everybody has their favorite.  These are mine.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Brian Howe Bad Company Years.

Some time ago, I looked at the Bad Company and did a record review on the Paul Rodgers Era and the Robert Hart Era, overlooking with good reason the Brian Howe years which may rival the Paul Rodgers Era in terms of hits and they have a few with Holy Water,  No Smoke Without Fire and How Bout That for starters.  The problem has always been that Howe's Bad Company had more in common with Foreigner than Free and of course that goes all the way back to after the disaster that was Rough Diamonds, the worst album in the Paul Rodgers era, Bad Company decided to call it a day but I guess Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke got bored and wanted to rock out again, so after a while they settled on Howe, who sang on the God awful Ted Nugent Penatrator  album.

The Foreigner moniker got stuck on them when Mick Jones co-produced the worst Bad Company album ever Fame And Fortune, which came out on Atlantic rather than Swan Song since Peter Grant and Led Zeppelin retired that label.  Outside the failed title track as a hit single, the rest of the album was mush which Boz Burrell left soon afterwards.  Moving from Mick Jones to Charlie's Terry Thomas, Bad Company found a reliable composer producer who could get the band back up in the charts with the right chords and the right cliche lyrics and chorus that can guarantee radio airplay back then.  And Dangerous Age was much better sound wise and chart wise, getting a surprise top ten hit with No Smoke Without Fire and One Night.  Hell they were actually more Foreigner sounding than the actual band.  Certainly the title track and Shake It Up and Bad Man was fun stuff, more fun than Def Leppard so to speak   And Mick Ralphs knew a good guitar lick and good rock formula to keep it going and Holy Water (1990) was a worthy followup with another top ten hit with Holy Water and watery ballad If You Needed Somebody but they were a step ahead of the hair spray metal wussies and Def Leppard as well.  Boys Cry Tough and Walk Through Fire that perfect call and response when Bad Company played live.  The nadir was the beginning of Simon Kirke adding his very own finale song and usually his was the most sappiest.  100 Miles and the cringefest My Only One on Here Comes Trouble is reasons why there are editing songs off the record.

But it was too good to last and by 1992's Here Comes Trouble, the Terry Thomas/Bad Company's formula was wearing mighty thin and despite another top 30 hit with How Bout That and rock the arena songs Take This Town  and Here Comes Trouble the rest of album is too recycled cliche for even the most advent of fan to really give a shit, although it is a hair up on Fame And Fortune mind you.  The Brian Howe era ends with the live What You Hear Is What You Get, not exactly a throwaway live album as the folks at All Music would led you to believe.  Certainly ya gotta credit Howe for giving it all on the Rodgers' compositions and I actually enjoyed his version of Feel Like Making Love although Howe does mess up the words big time on Good Lovin Gone Bad.  Worth finding for a dollar at the local pawnshop if you do come across it.

I have good memories of Bad Company when they played at the Five Seasons Center around 1990 when they opened for Damn Yankees.  Howe was in fine vocal form and even had ole Simon Kirke take a gander my way and gave me a big wave.

Although the Howe era Bad Company had their hits, a big following out happened and Howe left the band in favor of Robert Hart who returned Bad Company to more of blues rock for two albums before Boz  Burrell and Paul Rodgers returned in 1998 with four so so new recordings tacked on the 2 cd Bad Company Anthology that Elektra (!) issued.  With the return of Paul Rodgers, any indication of the Brian Howe songs were left in the past.  Howe issued Circus  Bar in 2010.

Like the majority of y'all out there, I didn't think much of Howe and Bad Company back then but this year while rediscovering his output with Bad Company that he could hold his own vocalwise and he can lay claim that most if not all his albums were much better than Rough Diamonds, with the exception of Fame & Forture which remains the pits.  But it's funny how while he was a dead ringer for Lou Grimm that Mick Jones never bothered to ask him to sing on Foreigner.   Howe can be sometimes found on the Casino rock circuit.  Heck of a nice guy I've heard.

The Brian Howe Bad Company Albums:

Fame And Fortune (Atlantic 1986 reissued via Wounded Bird, Out Of Print)  D+
Dangerous Age (Atlantic 1988) B+
Holy Water (Atco 1990)  B+
Here Comes Trouble (Atco 1992, reissued via Wounded Bird)  C
What You Hear Is What You Get (Atco 1993) C+

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Top Ten Of The Week-Sorry Joe Winters No Snow For You This Week

Well, our local weatherman is bitching about no snow on the ground and with about 10 days left he's very worried about a snowless Christmas.  Actually, we are in the middle of December and usually we do have about four or five inches of the white shit on the ground but at the moment it is raining instead. 

Anyway, the ratings look like this might be the biggest viewership here for all time and I'm sure my fine friends have have contributed greatly as one of their links on their sites.  We might crack over 1,250 views perhaps.  Still the ratings for the all time 10 best still bring them in and I'm getting more views of the Best Of 2009 over the Best Records of 2011???

Read something recent dammit! ;-)

The Top Ten Of The Week:

1.   Sock It To Me Santa-Bob Seger & The Last Heard 1966    Good for him to put The Little Drummer Boy on his brand new 2 CD Greatest Hits but to me I think Bob is shortchanging his rocking early years in favor of the Night Moves/Live Bullet era, which is classic but back in the 60's Seger's Cameo/Parkway stuff damn near out rock just about everything that came out of Detroit.  Grab a copy of Seven or Rambin Gamblin Man (the album) and Smokin OPs and you'll see what I mean.  Anyway, Real Gone Records has this on a Cameo Parkway Christmas album (which has too many crappy seasonal stuff for me to care) but I'm surprised that Allen Klein licensed this the Polygram back in the 1990s and this was on the cheap comp. A Rock And Roll Christmas which Rebound reissued it with a bonus George Thorogood track to beat.  Seger kinda rewrote Papa's Gotta Brand New Bag with the a faster bass line from Heavy Music.  Too bad Seger pussed out and didn't issued this on his best of.  And too bad KDAT or Mix 96.5 won't have the balls to play this either (but they'll torture you with back to back versions of Winter Wonderland).

2.   The Train-Ray Charles 1966   For years this was my favorite 45, yes it was the B Side to Let's Go Get Stoned but at that time I was a five year old and like the strange sounding choo choo train at the beginning and end of the song.  And I wore the grooves off this song, I think the 45 is retired in my dad's collection but he never plays it and it just takes up space I'm afraid.  Couldn't find a decent replacement copy so I ended up getting that 5 CD Complete ABC Singles that Concord issued this fall and it's finally great to hear this song without scratches and lost grooves.  I think my mom knew I love Ray Charles' music and therefore managed to get me a few of them but if she sat down and listen to the lyrics closely, she would have objected. They're very suggestive, but then again I was five years old and cared more about the grooves than the words.

3.   Christmas Lights-John Moreland & The Dust Bowl Souls 2011  The dude at 9 Bullets raved so much about the album Everything The Hard Way that this became my first ever album that I downloaded.  I really didn't know much about this Moreland, he reminded me of a cross of Springsteen and John Cafferty with a bit of Jay Farrar to boot.  This is not a Christmas song mind you but it's the best song off this album, to which it's supposed to come out on physical product next year.  The MP3 sound doesn't really do justice but by golly I beat the middle man in getting this from the net.  And it was only 5 bucks too.

4.  M.T.A.-The Kingston Trio 1959   I had a choice of a couple Kingston Trio songs to put up on this week's top ten but decided to go with this version in tribute to that folk band that I saw in Prescott back in the fall.  Came out on Capitol but Socialist prick Mike Curb has a best of Kingston Trio that I found in the 2 dollar bins a few years ago and brought that.  True, it's all original recordings back when Curb had distribution from Capitol and reissued some best ofs from the likes of Kingston Trio, Peter & Gordon and Bob Welch to name a few.  But thankfully never recorded for the asshole Curb.  BTW, congratulations to Tim McGraw for finally getting away from Mike Curb and can now record and put out the record when he wants to.

5.  Ins & Outs-Cinderblock 1992  Another unknown band that probably isn't worth the time nor effort to tell you about.  Sounded somewhat like Uncle Tupleo and Pavement and made one album for Restless called Cinderblock Greatest Hits, basically figuring they were going to be a one and done deal.  And they were.

6.  Never Heal Myself-Cults 2011  Sounds like Lesley Gore with Phil Spector if you ask me.  This band getting great kudos and reviews and making on some people's best of 2011.

7.  Going To Move Across The River-Bill Pickney & The Original Drifters 1989  Drifters had a nice heyday in the 50's and 60s but then The Beatles came across the pond, and Motown and Memphis came a calling with their soul music, the doo wop and R and B bands got forgotten although the Drifters managed to hang on to being on Atlantic till around 1969.  Like the Clovers, The Drifters with their various lineups managed to eek out a living on the casino circuit.  This song comes to us via Ripete's 4 CD Beach Music Anthology which managed to get original R and B recordings but also adding some newer stuff.   There are no liner notes and there's not indication where Ripete Records is at although I'm guessing that Charly Records had something to do with this.  You remember Charly Records do you?  They were a import label that managed to reissue some pretty nifty stuff via Chess or Vee Jay or whatever came to mind but they always avoided the major labels in terms of royalties until they were put out of business via Universal around the mid 90s.  BTW, there are no more original Drifters living anymore. Pickney passed away in 2007 at the age of 81.

8.  Paranoia Blues-Paul Simon 1972   After the success of Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Simon decided to go in a different direction, leaving Art Garfunkel behind in the making of his first album which if you go past the hit singles of Mother And Child Reunion and Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard, that the rest of the album is a whole left turn.  Lotta acoustic blues and off the wall stuff.  The Paul Simon reissue gives you a couple demos and a alternative version of this song which I think could have worked just as well on the LP.

9.  One Two Three-Ramsey Lewis 1966   B Side to Down By The Riverside and a 45 that I got for 9 cents at Ben Franklin up in Waterloo around 1967 I believe.  Ramsey lost his rhythm section to Young/Holt Unlimited and replaced them with Cleveland Eaton on bass and Maurice White on drums.  I  am guessing that it is Young doing the jive vocals which gives this Len Berry a certain charm and Boogaloo as they would say.  Maurice White was a in demand drummer for a lot of Chess artists (Etta James and Billy Stewart comes to mind) but he would eventually move on to start up a certain band you all know and love known as Earth, Wind & Fire.

10.   No No Song-Ringo Starr 1974  Hoyt Axton wrote it and had Cheech & Chong in the middle eight temptation but Ringo got the hit and the Richard Perry production to boot.  But basically this is Ringo telling the world that No No No he won't give you no more autographs, he's tired of seeing them being sold on EBAY.    In terms of being around so long, that only he and Paul Mac are still around.  And Ringo's got a new album coming out next year which means that he'll get some aging guest stars to join him.  Wonder if old Sheryl Crow will find a spot on that album.  Just wondering.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Best Records Of 2011

It's been a big year for the recording industry which is celebrating that this is their best music year since 2000 or so it seems.  And that CD sales only declined by 3.5 percent which means they are celebrating that music is finally turning around for them.  But digital downloads have increased by about 80 percent from last year and vinyl is 20 percent more than last year.  Which makes great cause for the return of music as we know it?

Hardly.  Problem is vinyl costs too much.  Most of the stuff I see is around 18 to 20 dollars, some classic stuff goes for as low as 12.99 but another problem is that you can't find a bricks and mortar store within walking distance.  Digital downloading is great for on the go, but for myself who wants the actual product in hand not so much.  You can't study a digital download or read the liner notes.  Even on CDs it also cheapens the product if you have to access the internet for liner notes and other assorted bullshit (case in point: Sony Music's Playlist or Setlist comps).  Teddy Thompson also had this problem on his great Piece Of What You Need CD, that instead of reading who did what, you have to go to the website and access it there.  And there's some folk out there that don't have a computer yet.

Musically speaking 2011 was an improvement over last year although once again there's nary a band that can derail the classic rock sounds of your favorite bands.  There's plenty of 20th anniversary collections that came out, Nirvana for one and Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs got a 40th revamp although I still like the 20th version better.  The world got to see and hear The Beach Boys Smile Sessions in 2 cd or the big box of everything to it.  Someday I'll get around to hearing The Smile Sessions but for my money the best box set was the Ray Charles Singular Genius or The Complete ABC singles not that it was better than Smile or Layla or Nevermind 20, it was that I grew up listening to Ray Charles on ABC in my long ago and far away youth.  Other notable reissues was Pink Floyd going into the Digipak moment, Sony/Legacy taken control over Paul Simon's back catalog and Wounded Bird giving the world The Fugs on Reprise albums.  And Legacy reissued the Neil Diamond Bang Singles on a nifty little package that will make my top ten of the year despite that being a digipak.    In fact, this was the most workout we have seen Legacy have done as well as new Columbia artists such as The Vaccines or Cults.  Rick Rubin might be a great producer and rock guru but as record company head he may have been one of the worst ever to head a label.  I'm sure Doug Morris will set Sony straight.

Last month we have seen the four majors morph into three with EMI being sold off to Sony Music and Universal.  And things won't be the better for it.  We saw Sony Music decided to end the life and times of Arista Records.  As well as Jive Records and J Records.  We also seen the closing of yet another music book store in Borders.  Which leaves Barnes & Noble as the only alternative here to Best Buy/Wal Mart/Target.   And REM decided to call it a career.  Every band has a beginning and an end and perhaps having a third good album in a row contributed to that decision.  As for the REM overview Part Lies,Truth etc. etc. I really don't see a need for it since I got the IRS import Best Of REM and the In Time REM of a few years back but if you want a good overview, the hits and that cruddy digipak by all means go for it.

On the radio here it's Cumulus changing the format of 107.1 from oldies classic rock to top forty.  Like the world needs another top forty showcase for autotuned rap and crap American Idol rejects. But the problem isn't that but rather Cumulus continuing the play the usual 500 safe songs on their selective stations and not give any chance to any new band trying to make it, if that's a possibility anymore.  But then again all the stations sound the same with their format and music style.  You are probably more better to get satellite radio to hear anything new or not on the radio but even that format is getting too damn familiar with the same ole same old.

Like the previous years, there are some new good acts to go with the dinosaur acts that refuses to go away.  YES and Journey gave us new albums with new singers and although the new YES was okay, the new Journey may have been their most prog rockish ever.  The Status Quo rocked the world with a new album and so did ole Christopher Cross, both on Eagle Records which is the decade's new retirement home for the classic rock acts of long ago and far away.   Bad Company and Foreigner rehashed their hits on yet another live setting and basically the world does not need another live Foreigner either.  Joe Bossamassa was by far the most busiest, putting out five albums, two solo, another Black Country Communion album and live DVD and something with Beth Hart all with Kevin Shirley behind the controls.  And like the first BCC album, the second had some good moments, some great and the rest overbearing with screamer Glenn Hughes, a person that tends to overstay his welcome for these ears.  But I still believe that Black Country Communion would sound at home on the hard rock stations or even classic rock, if classic rock radio would get out of that 1985 playlist which has been playing the same 500 songs over and over per day.

To consider what's the best for me for this year, the majority of them all seem to be veteran bands or bands that get overlooked from Pitchfork or Spin or Rolling Stone although I have been known to review things on their recommendations.  Most are forgettable or disposable and perhaps having two albums out may have the masses being burned out on Miranda Lambert, who made a great album with the Pistol Annies and perhaps her least successful Four The Record, which hit the charts in the top five and then four weeks later been flying down the wrong part of the charts.  Which is a shame knowing the fair weather folk have already abandoned ship but for me whatever Miranda puts out, I'll be happy to listen to.  Don't look for me to jump on the Bon Iver bus anytime soon.  I am not even sure that I'll be listening to half of what I have for the top ten of this year either.  But the 10 that stand out will probably see more airplay than last year's or the year before.  And my selection of the best ever turned out to be one of the hardest albums to find which kinda irked the lead singer of that band.  To work and pour your heart out on a album that nobody knows about is as discouraging as it gets but then again my favorite albums from bands long ago didn't have much impact on the buying public, except on the blogs to which those who read would go try to seek out these lost classics.  I don't expect my top ten best of 2011 list will go beyond the readership that I have right now and I have resigned that I'll never be rich and famous or well known as Robert Christgau or Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone but I can live with my cult following and 800 to 1,000 views of the month, weather permitting or when inspiration comes around. I take my chances with what I find that will entice me and sometimes buying albums can be a mistake in itself (Stevie Nicks, Sin-Narta, Saga comes to mind).  I tend to be more trusting in Billy F Gibbons than Rob Sheffield or even Christgau himself when it comes to the best of 2011.  And Billy came through big time this year.

The Best Of 2011

1.   61 And 49-Mike Eldred Band (Zoho Roots)   Blues Rock is in short supply nowadays and even though the blues are still the most genuine music out there.  You can't auto tune the blues.   And I can sense the frustrations when Mike left me a comment about how much time and effort he put into this record and nobody heard it or find the CD when it came out on a small label.  And the only place that had it was at Half Priced Books.  It could have been the praise from Billy F Gibbons of ZZ Top or it could have been the rhythm section that was The Blasters but Mike Eldred put together a fine classic album of boogie and blues, helped by a couple tracks by Ike Turner and Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos helping out too.  A tip of the hat to Stevie Ray (Jake's Blues   She's A Rocket) plus Lonnie Mack and Jimmy Vaughn figures but I also think that when I first heard For A Girl I thought that Greg Allman was doing the vocals but it was Mike himself.  Even on the slow blues burner  Ruby's Blues Eldred shows the world of the praises of Gibbons.  Nothing against Joe Bossamassa, I like him fine, but Mike Eldred's 61 and 49 is down and dirty good time rock n blues.  And Mike only did it on one album too.

2.  Rockpile Live At Montreaux 1980 (Eagle)   As much as I give credit to Nick Lowe for changing the rules of the game and going with a more MOR direction on his latest it just didn't rock enough for me to care much about it.  Good songs here and there but as a whole the album was kinda boring.  But with the reissue of this 1980 live setting, it shows the world that Nick Lowe back then, paired with Dave Edmunds that they were the best of rock and roll and too bad that Lowe got bored with the whole shebang.  Even after the breakup Edmunds and Lowe made great albums but that tension between them was missing until 1990's Party Of One the last time Nick would ever work with Edmunds again.  Certainly there have been bootlegs of live Rockpile but this is the best one.  Of course the secret weapon was Billy Brummer who would sing on a couple songs that Edmunds sang on his solo albums.  Thank your lucky stars and Eagle Rock for finally giving us a legit live document of this band, still in their raging glory.

3.  Neil Diamond-The Bang Years (Columbia/Legacy)   The recent Neil Diamond very best tries to give the best overview of what Neil has done over the years and finally having all of his stuff from Bang to Uni/MCA to Columbia to Capitol does the best its can but leaving off certain hits.  Neil has done it all but for me his best years was at Bang Records when Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich produced and sang background to his hits which were many.  This is where it all begins, this is where the legend of Neil begins.  He got weirder when he moved to Uni and then went down the middle of the soft rock road. at Columbia.  The Bang singles are gold forever and remains the reason why Neil Diamond went into the rock and roll hall of fame.

4.  The Vaccines-What Do You Expect From The Vaccines (Columbia)  Funny thing about alternative rock this year was that the bands that I listened to that came from Columbia/Sony Music was how they used a lot of echo and lot of Jesus And Mary Chain's sound of feedback and more echo.  Cults was one band although they owed more to Phil Spector than the Reid Brothers of JAMC and although they were good, they were not good enough to make the top ten best of.  The Vaccines owed a lot to The Smiths or Morrissey for that matter (Post  Break Up Sex beats Morrissey at his game)  but for me they were a lot more fun, owing to one minute ditties such as Norgaard and Wrecking Bar (ra ra ra) that recall The Ramones if they were inspired by Jesus and Mary Chain.  They do come on their own on Wet Suit, probably my favorite song of the year and the lyrics oh so true.  And so personal too.

5.  Status Quo-Quid Pro Quo (Ear Music/Eagle)
6.  Face To Face-Laugh Now, Laugh Later  (Antagonist)
7.  George Thorogood & The Destroyers-2120 South Michigan Ave (Capitol)

Sometimes it's best to do the things that you're good at.  Satisfy the fans with your type of music and you'll hit the top ten more often than not.  I give you three examples of this:  The Status Quo, who for 40 years have been cranking out boogie rock and roll and never changed their style although they did get a couple new drummers along the way and John Edwards from Climax Blues Band on bass.  Quid Pro Quo is no different from any other album but on this effort, they seemed to be more into the music this time.  Credit Mike Paxman for coming back to produce and telling the boys to keep it simple.

Face To Face, for 20 years have been making their blend of Southern Cal punk rock and after a 9 year layoff Trever Keith returns with most of their classic lineup (with a new drummer) and picks up where he left from How To Ruin Everything.  The only misstep of their lifetime was the ambitious but frustrating Ignorance Is Bliss,  Laugh Now, Laugh Later is just like Don't Turn Away or the 1996 S/T A & M effort.  It's fast, it's loud and you can sign along to it.  While most of Face To Face comtemperies have moved on to other things, FTF returns with a South Cal Punk vengeance to which only the hardcore fans and audiophiles know about.

George Thorogood like the above two bands is been Old Reliable when it comes to blues and party tunes.  On this album he pays tribute to the Chess Records label and the artists that influenced him and me (Howlin Wolf, Chuck Berry, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter and of course Bo Diddley).  I suspect that I might be the only one that put his album on the Best of 2011 but that's the beauty of Best Of lists.  I tend not to go over towards the biggest fads and flavors of the month or year, but rather remain faithful to the artists and bands that got me through the 80s or the 90s or the last decade.  It may cost me any chance of contributing to Pitchfork but hey, I don't abandon the bands that I grew up with.  And George will still around longer than the flavors of the year, Bon Iver included.

8. Pistol Annies-Hell On Heels (Columbia)
    Miranda Lambert-Four The Record (RCA)

Miranda Lambert has had a heck of a ride to the top of the country charts and her album of 2009 Revolution gave her the big country hit and all the kudos from the papers and trade magazines but she had her shit together on Crazy Ex Girlfriend.  She may have spread herself thin on Four The Record since she was busy writing and recording with the Pistol Annies on Hell On Heels and that album is the better of the two.  In fact, it's still the most honest country album this side of the trailer court (case in point: Trailer For Sale). With The Annies, Lambert teams up with Ashley Monroe & Angaleena Presley and all three write and sing the songs that associated with Loretta and Tammy in the heartaches and revenge factor, and Lambert writes the most biting songs (Takin Pills, Boys From The South, Trailer For Sale again) but Presley and Monroe figure greatly into this.

Miranda may have spread herself too thin since on Four The Record she relies more on outside songwriters than in the previous three but even if they are covers, the covers are tailor made for Lambert.  She even gets Blake Shelton to duet on Better In The Long Run (written by Monroe and others, not Miranda though) and Blake helps co write on Over You. The most Miranda song to me is Same Old You (written by Brandi Carlisle), even though she didn't write it, she makes is sound like she did.  The Deluxe Version gives you one extra song which is okay and the DVD is one of those viewed once deals but the original album ends with the beautiful Alison Moorer's Oklahoma Sky.  Four The Record is the least of Lambert's record output but like the rest of her music, it remains steller.  A lesser Lambert album was always trump over most of anything Carrie Underwood has out.  Underwood may have the voice but Lambert has the attitude and the ability to write a song about life in general.

9.  Tommy Keene-Behind The Parade (Second Motion)  The last three albums of Keene's I was really beginning to wonder if he lost his power pop magic touch.  They were okay but they didn't rock hard enough for me to be interested.  And maybe he was uninterested, after all he lost his long time drummer to The Gin Blossoms but on Behind The Parade, Keene leads off with one of his best songs ever (Deep Six Saturday) and the next two songs were just as good although the instrumental almost made me wonder.  But side two leads off with the superb Running For Your Life, showing the world that when Keene writes a great song,  you'll remember it.  Can't say that this is his best since Songs From The Film, his long ago forgotten 1987 album for Geffen but I assure you that Behind The Parade is his best since 1997's Ten Years After.

10.  Samantha Fish-Runaway (Ruf)  The final installment was a replacement cuz when I heard this album later in 2012 I found that Samantha Fish was too good to leave off any best of.  A young 21 year old with a vocal like Bonnie Raitt and playing guitar like Susan Tedeschi Fish is more blues driven than most of the autotuned pop divas that's playing on radio anywhere.  The major labels couldn't figure out what to do with her but Thomas Ruf, saw something in her to record her with Dani Wilde earlier with Girls With Guitars and then give her the chance to do her own record.  She's up and coming and here's hoping a new generation of girls out there will find this record and be inspired enough to do their own blues album.  She's amazing!

The Next Noteworthy

11.  Sunny Sweeney-Concrete (Republic Nashville)  A Texas singer songwriter who might be the next in line to the Miranda Lambert throne.  She has some great songs but sadly, her record label saddles her with a country corn producer (Brett Beavers) and he adds too many fiddles and slide guitars and a Keith Moon drummer wannabee.  Had a minor hit with From A Table Away.  Stick her with Frank Liddell and she might be better known.

12. Diplomats Of Solid Sound-What Goes Around Comes Around (Pravda)  Long standing Iowa City band keeping the Booker T and The MG's sound alive, plus having Sarah Cram and Kathy Ruestow adding vocals to make it work even better.

13.  Dawes-Nothing Is Wrong (ATO)  Bob Lefsetz loves these guys and it's easy to see why.  They have that good timey southern cal easy rock that recalls CSN and Jackson Browne, who appears on a track.  The lyrics might be a bit trite as our friends at Farce The Music says but this is good music to go driving on the highway with.

14.  Social Distortion-Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes (Epitaph)  Getting more closer to Rolling Stones than Ramones on the new album but I also think this is Mike Ness' best effort since Somewhere Between Heaven And Hell.

15.  REM-Collaspe Into Now (Warner Bros)  They ended their career in style, with their third straight very good album.  Credit a better effort, or perhaps Bill Rieflin on drum or Gareth Lee's production.  Even guest star Peaches is tolerable on this.

The Rest:
16.  Dirt Drifters-This Is My Blood (WB)
17.  Fountains Of Wayne-Sky Full Of Holes (Yep Roc)
18.  Killing Joke-Absolute Dissent (Spinefarm)
19.  Blink 182-Neighborhoods (Interscope)
20.  Ricky Scaggs-Country Hits Bluegrass Style (Skaggs Family/Fontana)
21.  Foo Fighters-Wasting Light (RCA)
22.  Cults (Columbia)
23.  Whitesnake-Forevermore (Frontiers)
24.  Chickenfoot 3 (E1)
25.  Ryan Adams-Ashes And Fire (Capitol)

Reissue Of The Year
Ray Charles-Singular Genius-The Complete ABC Singles (Concord)

In the old days, my 45 collection was filled with Ray Charles singles and they were played so much that the grooves wore through the next side.  Certainly collecting all these singles do have some dated material but it's so nice to hear The Train or The Cincinnati Kid without it sounding like a scratchy old 78 with their grooves worn through.  This collects the very first ABC Paramount single My Baby (I love her yes I do) to his b side of Ring Of Fire.  You can sense the development of Ray as he goes from jazz to country to soul to lush ballads in a instant.  The Ralph Burns arranged vocals are dated as the 60's and Charles recorded way too many Beatles ballads but the B sides often had some great songs from Percy Mayfield and Jimmy Holiday later on.  His America The Beautiful remains the best National Anthem (sorry Whitney) ever.

Runner up.
The Fugs-Tenderness Juction, It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest, Belle Of Avenue A, Golden Filth (Wounded Bird)

Before Frank Zappa, there was The Fugs and even though their first two albums weren't on Reprise, they did set the tone and style for Frank Zappa and The Mothers.  They were guaranteed to offend anybody and perhaps that was the intent.  When they got to Reprise, they still offended the establishment as Tenderness Junction did.  It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest reunited them with Richard Alderson who produced the second Fugs album (which to me is their shining moment) but the side 2 suite can be a bit much to sit through.  Belle Of Avenue A is the less essential as most of the album is Ed Sanders and a guitar player but the best songs came from Ken Weaver (Four Minutes To Midnight).  Golden Filth is the finale and shows the Fugs in concert playing bawdy songs and singing the praises of slum goddess and Joan Crawford on the offensive CCD song.  Rhino Handmade put all four albums into a boxset along with the aborted Atlantic Sessions and still very pricey (as it is out of print).  Wounded Bird reissued the Fugs Reprise albums as standalone titles.

These are my picks for the Best Of 2011.  You'll note that I didn't include some such as Tom Waits-Bad As Me or The Beach Boys Smile Sessions.  That's because that I didn't buy them.  I'm sure at some point in time I'll probably get The Smile Sessions in one form or another. Again, the quote of so much music, so little time is also the other reason.  We are bombarded with so much music in this day and age is that one really cannot sit through all that is out there.  And of course as time goes on the best of this year, some of the selections may disappear from my collection, not that they aren't bad, but outlived their usefulness.  I know for a fact that some stuff from previous years that didn't make the top ten do get some play on my stereo.  Tastes vary and I'm sure a year from now or five years from now,  most of the best of 2011 may not be in my player.  But for the moment in this place and time these are the best of 2011 and maybe a few might enlighten and entertain should you see them in the sale bins or dollar bins at your local junkshop.

Thanks for reading.