Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Top Ten Of The Week-BOO Tunes

Well this top ten falls under the Halloween banner so it's time for me to scour the archives to see if we can come up with some scary tunes.  And not the scary crap of last year's Boo Berry Gets His Ass Kicked by Train or Celine Dion.

It would be easier to post Purple People Eater or The Monster Mash but I think we want to get a little deeper in the dark part of the season, so I have spent a good part of the weekend to come up with things not exactly played on the radio.  Will I succeed or not, we'll see what the ratings will be like.

1.  It's A Monster's Holiday-Buck Owens 1972  This was country's answer to The Monster Mash a few years down the road and I almost forgot all about it till I heard this on KUNI this afternoon to which I'm sure Bob Dorr may have played this, or maybe not.  It's hard to tell with him, I'm surprised he didn't stick Elvis In Paraguay on there during that Halloween special.  You really don't hear 70's era Buck Owens all that much, he owned country radio (and KNIX and a few others) in the 60s and country radio always would be playing Buck somewhere in the world but not in this Cumulus owned bullshit Corporate world.  Steve at work took the time to compiled the best of the Buck Owens boxset for a cd present to me and I hold it quite dear.  In my rock and roll state growing up, I always had time to slip on some Buck Owens when we had the forty fives.

2.  The Raven-Alan Parsons Project 1975  Edgar Allen Poe goes with Halloween as well as Vincent Price does and my fave VP movies were always based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe although the 1963 movie with Boris Karloff was more camp fun than scary.  Back in the mid 70s Alan Parsons put together a album of songs based on the works of Poe, Tales Of Mystery And Imagination and radio actually played two tracks off that album, Dr. Tarr And Professor Feather was heard on the top forty station Q103 in 1975 but the followup single moreorless was regulated to Beaker Street or the underground FM stations to which the aforementioned Dorr would play from time to time.  Recorded on 20th Century featuring help from Ambrosia best remembered for Holding On To Yesterday one of the more haunting songs of that year.  Top forty radio used to be fun but that was before any of you out there was even born.

3.  Mitternacht-Kraftwerk 1974  These guys had a sense of humor as well as a love for the mystery sounding b horror movies.  From Autobaun which came out on Vertigo in the US, Warner Brothers, then Elektra later on I didn't play the second side of that album all that much. I wasn't that much into goofy sounds and this does sound dated but it does fit the Halloween spirit of things going bump into the night.  Also Kometenmelodie 1 gets Halloween consideration for the creepy and moody sounds that begin side two of that album.   In other words. BOO!

4.  The Eyes-Dio 2004  Up to his death, Ronnie James Dio continue to explore the dark and evil side and this cut off Master Of The Moon has to be heard simply of the bizarre effects of Craig Goldy's guitarwork.  Sure many many other songs were considered, Strange Highways, Dream Evil, The Mob Rules and between Dio, Sabbath Ozzy and Kelly there would be nobody else that could make the top ten.

5.  Joan Crawford-Blue Oyster Cult 1981   They played this song when I saw them at the Five Seasons Center in 1981 and 1983.  Nothing reminds me of Halloween of seeing that movie Mommie Dearest and then this track came off Fire Of Unknown Origin that made Joan a monster on the screen but way back in the 30's she was a knockout actress and was seen in a movie that TCM showed with Lon Chaney.  I think they were called melodramas back then instead of Gothic horror.  With Mommie Dearest Joan brought new meaning to NO MORE COAT HANGERS!   BTW, Joan Crawford has risen from the grave and is outside your door! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.

6.  The Martian Boogie-Brownsville Station 1977  Not everything from Halloween is all zombies or monsters or evil eyeballs, plenty of songs were written about Martians or Slime Creatures from Other Space. Venus love goddess and Martians also figured into the equation as well and none was better than Cub Koda's song about meeting a little green man with colored sticks known as Martian Cigarettes at 2 30 in the AM at a fine eating establishment known as EAT!  An 4 minute edit was issued on 45 which bombed but amazingly still gets airplay on The Fox.  If Motley Crue covered this KRNA would have played it.  Even though Cub passed away Brownsville Station has reformed, Mike Lutz and Henry Weck and a couple new dudes to boot and made a new CD this year.  I heard some of it and Cub Koda is missed even more.

7.  The Rubber Room-Porter Wagoner 1971  Perhaps the strangest country song ever recorded that at one point I actually heard this on the radio, from the folks of KOEL in Oelwein back when they played a more variety of country music that KHAK ever did. Back then Porter was more alternative country than one imagined especially of being committed into the infamous rubber room to which the tortured artist duked it out with the demons using plenty of echo in the process.  You think Cumulus would ever consider playing this on their crappy stations.  Um...I'll take No for Five hundred Alex.

8.  My Old Flame-Spike Jones 1959  The RCA best of doesn't give a recording date but if you go by the A and R dude there it was recorded 1947 to which Spike Jones takes an old pop standard and adds a Peter Lorre type of vocals from I'm guessing Paul Frees who would eventually do a retake of this song on the Warner Brothers' Spike Jones In Stereo (or if you the mono album, Spike Jones In Hi Fi) to which Collector's Choice Music reissued and there's two copies of it still at Best Buy for five bucks.  Jones heyday was with RCA in the 40s and early 50s till rock and roll swept him aside and made him all the bitter for it.  Spike Jones In Stereo was a parody of songs done in Halloween style and it hasn't aged very well.  As far as I know the only WB album Jones recorded and after that, he moved over to Liberty to live out the rest of his years doing Dixieland styled hit songs of that era (most notably Washington Square). Although not rock n roll, Spike Jones did influence The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band the British band that would influence another bunch of British actors and comedians you would know as Monty Python.  Best Buy eventually "slashed" the price down to 99 cents.  Paul Frees can be heard on most of Spike Jones In Stereo with another guest vocalist Thurl Ravenscroft (who's heard on You're A Mean One Mr Grinch).


9.  You're Mine-John Entwistle 1971  Funny thing about The OX was he wrote a lot of slight of tongue songs for The Who (My Wife, Boris The Spider and of course, Dr. Jekyll And Mr Hyde) but for our spooky song we choose one from Smash Your Head Against The World as he plays the devil and says that Everybody is mine.  Song freaking spooked me when I first heard it years ago as a fifth grader.  Good wins over evil at the very end as the devil gets blown away with oodles of feedback and trickery.

10.  Matty Groves-Fairport Convention 1969  So many songs and 10 positions to consider.  So I leave you with another tale of lies and deception and murder from a traditional song is one of Fairport's better known songs. 

More howling at the moon:

Werewolf-Five Man Electrical Band 1974
Heart Attack And Vine-Tom Waits 1980
Who Scared You-The Doors 1969
She's A Goth-The Stabilisers 2007
Underground-The Angels 1984

And yes:
Warewolves Of London-Warren Zevon 1979


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Music-The Strange Case Of Halestorm

More stacks of rock and roll from the dollar bins at my second home Half Priced Books which is celebrating their 6th year of being in Cedar Rapids.  I know I spend many waking hours hanging in the cd section or the celebrated dollar bins but in all honesty if it wasn't for HP Books in this area, I probably be under 1,000 CDs.

Half Priced Books remains the best place for the bargains that nobody wants to pay more than 2 dollars and the staff there know when something don't sell it gets shoved down to the bottom selves and of course my home in the basement so I know where to go.  Modern rock doesn't sell very well and sometimes I'll take a chance on those horrid bands (Hit The Lights, Sin-arta) only to say fuck it and trade them in for more music.  A never ending cycle so to speak.

Since Best Buy can't seem to get in the latest ELO or Jeff Lynne album or Saga 20/20 (although finding last years Rockpile live album used before Best Buy ever had it in, or never did) I basically took a look to see what was available and they had the latest Delta Moon Black Cat Oil used but I already had that so I settled on the 2nd album from hard rockers Halestorm  which is lead by the Lita Ford/Pat Benetar vocalist extraordinaire Lizzy Hale who with her drumming brother forms this band.  Thinking that I never heard them before it occur to me that both KRNA and KDAT, the Cumulus Cocksuckers that owned radio here actually played I Miss The Misery, (one time both KRNA and KFMW played that song at the same time).  Take away the guitars and overdrive and Carrie Underwood could make it a country hit as well since she sounds like Liz but don't give them any ideas.

It comes roaring out of the gate with Love Bites (So Do I) to which Hale and company tear it up in a heavy metal vibe and she's not afraid to use the word Bitch, as she does in the opener and the witty You Call Me A Bitch Like It's A Bad Thing.  Mz. Hyde even cops a bit of the opening theme of Doctor Who into another death metal lite song.  But for some reason the album starts having a eye toward radio with I Miss The Misery which reminds me a lot like Ms. Underwood's Before He Cheats with the way Hale phases the word like some kind of country song with the amps turned all the way up.  Freak Like Me is more hard rock before Lizzy does a 360 and throws out a couple back to back ballads, In Your Room one of more heartfelt ballads that wouldn't sound out of place on the odious KDAT station and separates Halestorm from the other modern hard rock bands, Lizzy Hale might be the bitch on the hard rock songs but on the mellower songs like In Your Room or Beautiful With You (another song that could be written for country if Taylor Swift or Miss Underwood covered it) Hale is that hopeless romantic that you can actually believe in. And begging to be with you before she returns to be the bitch rocker a few songs later. Taylor Swift would probably die to be like her.  Even though Swift will sell a few more albums than Liz Hale.

The Strange Case Of Halestorm, while not perfect, three ballads in a row tend to drag this album a bit, but they know how to work and they got Howard Benson produced this (Benson of course produced the likes of 3 Doors Down, Saliva etc etc).  Benson like Bob Marlette's production is easy to tell if you listen closely and they do have a ear for the radio.  Whatever Atlantic does for Halestorm after this remains to be seen but Strange Case, while not groundbreaking is pleasant on the ballads and fist pumping on the rock numbers.  It's perfect for rock radio in this day and age.  And for KDAT on the smoother numbers.  A win win for everybody.

Grade B plus

Pick hits: In Your Room, Love Bites (So Do I), Freak Like Me

Thursday, October 25, 2012

And So It Goes: Taylor Swift

So Taylor Swift has ditched country music in favor of pop now huh?  Not a surprise but the taboids are having a field day about her bust up with Conor Kennedy.  To which we cue up We Are Never Ever Gonna Get Back Together Again.

I really don't give two shits about her love life or for that matter her new album which gets praised in Rolling Stone and raspberried in the smarter mags or real country bloggers.  And got burned way too much of her ear worm classic You Belong To Me which is more of  a staple on the odious Cumulus owned KDAT than it is on KHAK another Cumulus owned monopoly in Craptown Iowa.  Chances are that she moved a million copies of Red, and good for her.  Selling a million copies of anything nowadays is a major achievement  But KHAK hasn't exactly played the We Are Never Ever Gonna Play This Song Again, er Getting Back Together again on regular rotation.  But then again Taylor has taken the road that Carrie Underwood has had, marketed them as country and then head straight for the Top Forty Pop Autotuner Wasteland.   She's kinda turning out to be a heartbreaker too, which probably was why John Mayer dropped her before she did him.  Or wrote a hate song to a critic that thought she couldn't sing real time. 

I'm sure Scott Borchetta has world domination plans with the new pop diva but it's not my kind of music to listen to no matter now much Martin Daniels tried to get me to buy Red and telling him to purchase the GD album himself and review it.  To which he pussied out.  

And so it goes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Top Ten Of The Week-The Strange Case Of Bobby Fuller

Ready for another top ten?  Well too bad anyway, you're getting another one.

But first a website to tell you about.
Kevin Patrick was once part of the Island Records A & R department, compiled the two cd Traffic Smiling Phases CD that got me to get into their music, anyway, he has a bigger love of 45 than I do and spends many a time picking and choosing them for his site.  Check it out and dig it.

Another interesting read was the sad strange case of Bobby Fuller, one of my influences in the music that I used to make before never getting off the couch or in front of the computer (like I am doing now).  The original blog story got deleted so had to find a replacement link:
The perfect murder mystery.

Once again this week brings out the strange and bizarre findings of new music and in the half priced Clarence bins at Half Priced Books.  Friday they ended up putting a lot of the old Time Life Classic Rock Series in the dollar bins.  By this time I pretty much have most of that collection and anything would have been dupes or repeats of stuff I already have times 2 or 3.  By now, Tad has gotten my Big Box of CDs in his mailbox and I'm sure he's sorting through all what's out there.  Basically no set of rules Tad, just pick and choose and listen to the best of them and if the others don't cut it, you can always donate them to the local Goodwill or thrift store.  Tad's review of some of the more interesting stuff:

Ratings are slightly up but still hovering around 1300 views.  It's all about the ratings I guess

Top Ten Of The Week:

1.  Wanted (Dead Or Alive)  Brownsville Station 1972  It's been a month since I did the Arizona trip and still haven't listened to all of the stuff that I bought back home on CD.  I'm always what am I looking for when I go on these bargain hunts, the answer is basically what looks good an on the cheap, anything under 5 dollars and in the cutout bins and mostly what I don't have on Wounded Bird or Collector's Choice Music.  For a time Wounded Bird reissued most of Brownsville Stations' album that were on Big Tree, Warner Brothers and Epic but for some reason couldn't get their best album the S/T on Private Stock on CD and that remains the only album that hasn't been issued although a couple songs did make the Rhino Best of.  Had a friend who was related to Cub Koda and he was gracious enough to sign a copy of Yeah to which I still have.  Before Yeah, Brownsville was very exciting live band but their studio albums weren't that great although No B.S. had some nice cover versions on it.  Night On The Town remains the bland number 2 album and problem was the songs didn't stand out, although this was released as a single.  Michael Lutz did the majority of the vocals on NOTW and once I had the album and didn't think of much it.  On CD a second listen hasn't changed my opinion of it, the recording is bland as the songs themselves so I can't recommend the album.  But Yeah, the next album, Doug Morris took over production and got them to cover some great songs (Question Of Temperature, Barefootin', Love, Love Love and Let Your Yeah be Yeah) and Cub Koda took over lead vocals much of the album.  And of course they got a hit with Smokin In The Boys Room.

2.  Whenever You're Ready-Brian Auger & Oblivion Express 1973  FM radio in the 70s played them a lot, especially the college stations but his albums I never got into to, till I started seeing them in the dollar bins.  Auger was more jazz than boogie blues like the majority of bands I was into at that time.  I did find a couple of his Atco singles for the cheap too (remember Julie Driscoll?), I Want To Take You Higher got airplay on the gospel station which boggles the mind.  Moving on to RCA, he begin to do more jazzy numbers and ended up getting the annoying Alex Livengood on vocals (He moved to Santana for Zebop!) but for a time Livengood left and Auger took over vocals for the classic Closer To It album. One Way reissued the RCA stuff, then later got reassigned to Fuel 2000, when One Way closed up shop.

3.  Back To The Stone Age-KISS 2012  Just like Love Gun, or Rock And Roll Over or KISS Live, this is how I remember them, glam rock guitars sound, dumb lyrics, screaming lead guitars, more dumb chorus before they took off their facepaint to become another hair metal band of the 80s. When Peter and Ace returned to the band in the 1990s for the farewell tour and that god awful Psycho Circus album, it was a money making ploy to say the very least and fucking awful, kinda like the overblown grunge experiment Carnival Of Souls-The Final Sessions (yea right).  However, I have to say that I did enjoyed their last album Sonic Boom and the new album Monster is more of the same.  Tom Thayer and Eric Singer have done a good job replacing the departed Ace and Peter and perhaps Gene is right that this band is firing on all cylinders and leaving the song doctors out of this.  It doesn't need to be all everything like Bon Iver or Animal Collective, just three chords rock and roll and silly lyrics will work for me thank you very much.  Keep rocking.

4.  I've Been Loving You Too Long-Kitty Wells 1974  Earlier in the year Kitty Wells passed away and of course she'll never top It Wasn't God That Made Honky Tonk Angels but when the hits dried up, MCA turned her loose and she found herself at Capricorn to which Johnny Sandlin and Paul Hornsby got some southern musicians and got her to cover this Otis Redding chestnut.  Aretha Franklin also turns in a fine performance on the Young Gifted And Black album on same song.

5.  Four Horsemen-Gamma 1980  Ronnie Montrose after disbanding Montrose the band and doing a couple of fusion albums got back in the rock and roll field with three albums for Elektra, the best I thought was the second album featuring some crazy artwork. Out of the three albums it was the most heaviest thanks to Denny Carmissi who was with Montrose during the glory years. Wounded Bird reissued the three albums but now have fallen out of print. If you find them especially the second album pick them up.

6.  One Of The Boys-Mott The Hoople 1972  Almost forgot to include this since Bob Lefsetz brought them up on his Rhino cast this weekend.  You may question his thought process at times but he's always had a keen eye and ear for music of the late 60s and early 70s and I continue to give him credit as well as Mr. Dorr even though I swore off his Backtracks showcase in favor of Pawn Shop Classics, a regular album show via my imagination.  I recall the DJ at KLWW FM (now KFMW) saying that somebody tucked the new Mott album in a basket with blanket over it and proceeded to play it most of 1973.  At that time I had no recollection of who Mott The Hoople was and wouldn't know till getting the Rolling Stone Record Review book.  One Of The Boys was one of earliest albums I bought during my junior year at Record Realm, the cover was beat up but it only cost 3 bucks at the time.  On the radio I got thrown off by the phone ringing on that song and was bitching about the DJ cutting in like he usually did, but it was the recording. Columbia butchered it on a 3 minute edit on the 45 record.

7.  Little White Lies-The Motley Blues Band 1966  Sometimes finding obscure 45s of the past may uncover a lost classic, a should have been a hit, or just plain meh.  When I first seen this I thought it was the original version of a key track off the first Romantics album till when I got in the car found out The Romantics wrote it themselves.  So the thought became maybe this is a garage rock classic although The Motley Blues Band is not related to Motley Crue (no shit sherlock).  Which is good in my book.  File this under New Vaudeville Band in terms of the sound and perhaps their label wanting a Winchester Cathedral version of their own.  Nevertheless the single bombed.  B side Ain't That A Funny Thing was the better side but more garage pop than garage rock.

8.   Back At The Funny Farm-Motorhead 1983  Having Brian Robertson replacing Fast Eddie Clarke was a head scratcher for Motorhead fans, it was a change in style, the album Another Perfect Day was better than the Fast Eddie finale of Iron Fist, instead of louder and faster, Phil Taylor the drummer had to slow it down on some of the bluesier numbers and One Track Mind may have been the slowest song they ever done.  Believe it or not this got some airplay on KRUI (certainly not KUNI, Bob Dorr would have a heart attack). I didn't pick up the album till I heard some of the best moments off No Remorse, the original best of Motorhead that came out on Bronze/Island a year later and backtracked.  Nevertheless, (don't you just love me using that word all the time?) after a tour, both Phil Taylor and Robertson would exit, and Lemmy would carry on with two guitar players Michael Burston (Wurzel) and Phil Campbell who still remains the second longest lasting member of Motorhead.  Side note: Phil Taylor would return up till 1916, the 1991 album.

9.  Tomorrow's Dream-Black Sabbath  1972  The basic complaint is that Cumulus radio owned KRNA or The FOX continues to think that Sabbath's only albums of note was Paranoid and Iron Man which is off Paranoid and what pisses me off about the narrowmindedness of Cumulus and their chase for the dollar by playing 40 year old songs in regular rotation and not change their GD playlist.  I like Iron Man but not in daily listening doses for the past 20 years of KRNA's 'modern' rock bullshit.  Sometimes, Mr. Egobob Dorr has been known to play The Wizard on his radio show Backtracks (there ya go Dorr, I promoted your show again against my better wishes).  But as the lovely Linda demonstrates, she knows her music (hey honey how bout playing some Supernaut?)   Better looking than EgoBob too.  BTW, I don't know her (too young) and this picture comes from Strictly Vinyl a FB site that showcase more scantly clad ladies peaking through albums at various record stores and showing off their cool record collection.  The ones you can never get right Doug Bonesteel?


10. Kowalski-Primal Scream 1997
Bobby Gillespie's tribute to Vanishing Point the movie. They never been as catchy creepy as this little trippy number.  Primal Scream was one of those rave bands that got mucho alternative press and really didn't care much about them till I picked up the album Vanishing Point which remains an underrated P.S. classic.  They could be trippy and they could also do Rolling Stones Type rock and roll and turn around and make such abrasive noise on their S/T album for Creation before Screamadelica. Fun Fact: Bobby Gillespie played drums on the first two Jesus And Mary Chain Albums.

Five more things to temp your turkey:

Oh Atlanta-Little Feat 1974
Houston-Dean Martin 1965
True Love Leaves No Traces-Dead Famous People 1991
No Excues-Alice In Chains 1993
Bird Has Flown-Deep Purple 1969

Reference link:

Bobby Fuller Four: Let Her Dance (Liberty Version which sounds different from the Mustang Version)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Crabb Bits: Bob Brenly, KISS, Donald Fagen

Three days of cloudy and windy conditions here makes the announcement that winter is coming with the change of seasons.  It also means that Bob Brenly is returning to the Arizona Diamondbacks as a announcer.  He was part of the Chicago Cubs WGN team for 8 seasons and he replaces Mark Grace who had a few too many DUI's but Grace can always come back to broadcast Cubs on WGN, provided if they don't go overboard with all those Walker Texas Ranger repeats.  Brenly will hook up with Steve Bethiaume one of the least annoying ESPN Sportcenter announcers.  It should make a good team and wishing Brenly all the best as he continues not to stray too far from the Arizona sun.

The Arizona State Fair begins this week.  Too bad I'm not there to enjoy that or the 20 dollar parking fees to park in the Fairgrounds.

Before the snow flies one more Madison bargain hunt will be planned.  Davenport comes later, looks like we may attempt to do Black Friday down in the Quad Cities. But for the most part I must get back to record something for my hobby band since they have been howling for me to stay away from the record and thrift stores, Richard Dennanbaugh threatening to even have me locked up in the recording studio for two weeks. Heartless bastard ain't he?

A lot of the stuff that was tacked on the top ten came from the Wicked Cool Records Blowout at Best Buy the past couple weeks, since Best Buy is throwing inventory into the Clarence bins for 5 bucks or less, but anything on Wicked Cool has been a dollar tops.  Such a shame that for all the promo that Little Steven and Best Buy gave this that the CDs didn't do better than hoped they would, blame the fuckers at Cumulus and Clear Channel Corporate Cocksuck radio for that. I have total distain for ALL of the CCC CCS Radio (or my new found term 5 C's radio) since all KDAT wants to do is annoy us with Sheryl Crow crap and the Don't Yell At Me singers which also is a plague on top forty Autotuned radio KZIA, and of course Train's Soul Sister.  Hard to believe I gave these chumps a A- on their debut album, which still holds up but is a far cry from the cry for the radio spot that Save Me San Francisco and California 37 turned out to be.  Thought that SMSF was a bad one off but Cal 37 turned out to be more of ploy for the radio.  Fuck that and fuck them too.  I'm not sure if all the Best Buy's in the area are cleaning house, not going to waste time and gas going to every one of them but the CR BB still have a couple copies of Spike Jones In Stereo, his WB Halloween parody that Collector's Choice reissued years ago.  They also have 20 copies of Big Head Todd's Big album to which I got free years ago in the mail.  It's very good but I don't play it much.  I usually don't play Digipak albums all that much since I don't like them.  But nevertheless most of the Wicked Cool stuff from bands that couldn't sell them are at the local BB store, as well as a few choice Coolest Songs In The World Series and CBGB's Forever.

As we shape up the month with more new music Donald Fagen has recorded more albums in the past four years than the Townedger have and he returns with Sunken Condos (Reprise) which reminds me a lot of Gaucho, the Steely Dan 1980 album, it's certainly more funkier than the lackluster that was Morph The Cat. At least Donald sounds like he's more awake this time out as he delivers a blue eyed soulful I'm Not The Same Without You although he's out of his element on Out Of The Ghetto, an Isaac Hayes cover. Another misstep is the wordy Memorabilia which threatens to devour the singer into a mush of 'what the hell is he sayin?'  What the Hell did I just say in that last statement, I don't know.  If Fagen still had the vocal like he did on the Nightfly this would be just as solid as that record but since time and age hasn't treated Fagen's vocals all that well (although he sings better than Bob Dylan, so can you) Sunken Condos is a album that relies a lot on the music.  It's funky and it's jazzy but it's neither either one, it's jazz for people who hate jazz. Still Fagen always gets top notch players on his efforts and this is no exception.  It's better than Morph The Cat but then again you can probably live without it unless you like Steely Dan or The Night Fly.  And hate jazz in the process.

And KI$$ er KISS is back with a new album of 12 rocking 70s type tunes that basically are rewrites of Rock And Roll All Night or Shout It Out Loud but then again I'm a sucker for 70s type glam pop rock that made KISS who they are.  And although they're no Peter or Ace, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer know their style quite well, after all Singer did play in Black Sabbath, and Bad Lands and Thayer was in Black n Blue that made a few good to great albums for Geffen (although their worst album was produced by Gene $immons)  Monster (Universal) continues to the back to basics without song doctors help that made their last album Sonic Boom a fun listen although Mark Prindle loved the KISS remakes better than actual new songs.  Prindle also didn't care much for the juvenile lyrics that Simmons tends to rehash but there's a certain charm to the caveman headed stuff like Back To The Stone Age or Eat Your Heart Out, a song that Ted Nugent would die to claim one of his own.  And there's no ballads here whatsoever another plus.  Simmons may be right that Peter or Ace couldn't fit into this day and age KI$$, Thayer and Singer have really bonded well into this new effort.  Naw, it's no Destroyer or hell Rock And Roll Over or Love Gun, it owes more toward Hotter Than Hell and KISS Live for inspiration and leaves behind the dammed unmasked era of the 80s in a cloud of dust and a stack of Marshalls to boot.  Monster is how I remember them and 70s hard rock and roll in all it's glory, three chords and dumb lyrics about rock and roll, all done for the love of rock and roll.  And the almighty dollar too.

Jamey Johnson is too country for country nowadays.  He doesn't sing bullshit stuff like girls that like to shake it, trucks and wallet chains unlike the Brantley Gilberts or whatever the fuck the Peach Pickers Trailer Trash is puking up for country radio.  To me, Johnson is more country than perhaps the other outlaw Eric Church but then again I don't think Eric Church would ever pal around with Hank Cochran which is the subject of Jamey's new tribute to Cochran, Living For A Song-A Tribute to Hank Cochran (Mercury Nashville). In fact Johnson manages to get some of the older Country elite' (Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Bobby Bare, Ronnie Dunn plus Lee Ann Womack, Emmy Lou Harris and Alison Krauss on the female side to pay tribute to Cochran via the many songs that Hank wrote.  In fact Willie Nelson's early stuff suggested that Cochran was a influence and for 16 songs, Johnson doesn't stand out but rather blends in the background, giving each and every guess vocalist part of the line of the song.  Tribute albums seldom work but this one is a labor of love and at the tail end of the song Johnson even lets the legend Cochran take the final line on the title track and it's a haunting but fitting way to end the record on a high note.  In a era that which country music is watered down Eagles or bad southern rock, Jamey Johnson remains in line with a Waylon or George to which one day he envisioned having his music between them.  That came true and Jamey Johnson remains the true honky tonk star that doesn't need boom boom speakers or a wallet chain to get the point across.  In the great beyond both Waylon and Hank are smiling with approval.  And that's good enough for me.

Donald Fagen-Sunken Condos B
KISS-Monster B+
Jamey Johnson-Living For A Song A Tribute To Hank Cochran A-

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Top Ten Of The Week-Instant Record Collection

Has anybody noticed of the abundance of box sets of almost complete vinyl collections of certain bands out there, or cherry picked ones?  That seems to be the norm from the majors as they compile albums from certain bands in boxes of 5 or even more.  Times have changed in this day and age of why seek out the albums when you can get them packaged in a collection?
WEA has done that with The Cars, ZZ Top, Warren Zevon but in a cheap way, poor packaged album reproductions that scratches up the CD inside if you're not careful.  At least Universal has kept the jewel case principal with their Rush, Tom Petty and many other bands' box sets.  For 19.99 if you don't have them, and if you're like me you do in some configuration, you may finally go get them. Or just seek them out in the cheap section in the junkshop.

This week Chuck Berry turns 86.  Betcha never seen that coming?  Neither did I.

I've heard the new Gloom And Doom song from The Rolling Stones, I think it sucks.  No thought in the song writing whatsoever.  You made it to 50 years Stone boys, time to retire after that. Cuz we can't get no satisfaction.

Samantha Fish isn't playing in Davenport this Thursday as originally thought earlier in the year.  Which means no Davenport trip this week, and besides the weather is supposed to be rainy and cold.  Not exactly idea weather for bargain hunting either.  Closer to home, the former Hardee's on the edge of Anamosa is now Green Leaves Buffet to which I'm thinking is owned by the same folks that have the Green Leaves two doors from Half Priced Books.  Not exactly sure if its cost effective to have two Chinese food places in Anamosa but there's getting to be more food choices closer to home.  The recently opened Mexican place in Anamosa is highly recommended from myself.

One thing about Arizona 30 was how bad my snineses were messed up most of the time. The dry, dusty weather made it impossible for me to sleep half the time fighting a damn nose that either dried up or sneezed every other time.  I can't recall ever a time that I have problems with the air down there.  On a previous conversation I did note to a emailer that part of the reason why I do go out there is to enjoy my fave food spots in that state,  El Palacio in downtown Kingman always is a must if I'm that in that area.  El Molinaro in Tucson likewise.  But for good cheap eats, Del Taco hit the spot.  I've been known in the past to forgo lunch and drink too much pop and get a sugar buzz and a headache to boot.  Not this trip.  Next time will probably find me up north, around Kingman and hopefully from room 220 of the Kingman Motel 6, counting trains and getting a natural high over that.  Hastings and FYE were very good to me as well.

The Top Ten Of Week:

1.  Hospital For Sinners-The Wallflowers 2012  Does it pain me to say that these guys are now nostalgia acts and fall into the "are they still around" category?  Bringing Down The Horse, their breakthrough after laying a turd debut at Virgin 20 years ago, sold like 10 million copies to which 9.9 ended up in the return section or the dollar bins across the country.  Didn't listen to Jakob Dylan's solo albums but I did pick up the new Glad All Over album from The Wallflowers and it sounds interesting.  But will people buy it?

2.  Metal Will Never Die-David "Rock" Feinstein featuring Ronnie James Dio 2012  David and Ronnie go way back to the day of Elf, the boogie band that made a couple albums for Epic and MGM before David went on to form The Rods and Ronnie joined up with Rainbow, Sabbath and of course Dio.  This was added to the new Very Beast Of Dio Volume 2 which picks up after Ronnie left Warner/Reprise (although he was on Vertigo in the UK).  Problem was the record labels Ronnie chose didn't stay in business very long, he was on Mayhem, then Spitfire (which became Eagle Rock), and onto Sanctuary to which he made the classic Master Of The Moon album worth finding if you can find it.  He also some spotty albums such as Magicia which was a concept album so to speak and Killing The Dragon to which I still haven't traded in yet.  The Very Beast 2, does a very good job cherry picking the best tracks, but it also includes the odd This Is Your Life and the bonus material isn't up to Dio's standards, good for those who want it all but a bit too much for those who don't.  On this track, seems like Dio even out Spinal Taps Spinal tap on this cliche' by the numbers track. Nevertheless Ronnie James Dio still sadly missed and metal hasn't been the same since he passed in 2009, (has it been that long already?)

3.  Close To You-Saigon Kick 1993  One of the most misunderstood bands of the hair metal era, Saigon Kick was anything but hair metal and their albums were all over the place.  They could be hard rock like Ratt, and turn around and sound like Devo the next, or Alice In Chains or even Collective Soul to which was getting started after Water, SK's third album took a hit.  I dismissed them as hair metal till I heard their best of which you have to hear to believe. That may have been the downfall of Saigon Kick was that they were all things music and not one kind of genre.  Doesn't translate to sales but if you're open minded enough, you might be surprised yourself too.  Their biggest selling album The Lizard I have four copies and none of them could play on my CD player at home, something to do with the paint configuration on the print side of the CD which made it worthless in players.  Been trying to find the Wounded Bird reissue, now out of print too, thought I did but somebody stuck the original Atlantic CD in that case.

4.  Further Than Heaven-The Hassles 1969  Another weird one, this comes from the band that featured a unknown Billy Joel and bass player Howie Blauvelt who was part of Ram Jam (Black Betty) but The Hassles sounded more like Vanilla Fudge than The Young Rascals to which United Artists snapped up to record two oddball albums.  I guess you can call this progressive rock since it goes on for about 7 minutes and sounds like somebody was listening more to Ummagumma than Near The Beginning or See.  Billy Joel pretty much disowned this era and when EMI tried to reissue The Hassles first album, Joel requested that they didn't and won out.  However Razor And Tie managed to throw the highlights of the Hassles into a 77 minute overview.  It's a period of the times and if you like Billy Joel, this is not the place to start, nothing even close to Piano Man (which is good).  But it would take him some time to get to that bridge, he and the drummer starting up a hard rock band Attila that made one Epic album.

5.  Cochise-Audioslave 2002  Ten years ago Chris Cornell got together with the guys in Rage Against The Machine to make three uneven albums but they never really topped this song in terms of classic rock. And probably had better luck had Brendan O'Brien mixing this up rather than the overrated Rick Rubin.  Little Steven included this on the now cheap to get CBGB's Forever Comp that led off Wicked Cool Records to which you could find for a dollar if you looked hard enough.  Wicked Cool Records was the best in terms of this era's garage rock and Little Steven tried his best to keep that going, even scoring a deal with Best Buy to distribute the CDs.  Five years later, Best Buy is cleaning out the inventory and you can get plenty of good deals from the now forgotten Wicked Cool acts (seek out Len Price 3, Stablizers, KO and the Knockouts as well as Volume 1 of the Coolest Songs In The World Series, Little Steven's modern day answer to Nuggets).


6.  Keep A'Walking-Sam & Dave 1962  B side to their first single I Need Love, this is your typical B side but to me it has a very infectious piano line and the call and response that made Sam Moore and Dave Prater one of the best soul duo ever but they were a good couple years from Stax and Isaac Hayes and David Porter.  This is pretty much gospel blues and soul in all of it's 1:47 glory.  I played it three times in a row when I first heard this. Must mean I must like it a lot.  I do.  The 45 version has a different mix than the LP.

7.  My Ding A Ling-Chuck Berry 1968  Chuck Berry has outlived most of his rock and roll contemporaries and being 86 he continues to play whenever he needs to pay the bills or when he's at Blueberry Hill down in ole St Louie.  Hard to figure in his career he's only had one number 1 hit and it was this old risque tune based on The Bees' Toy Bell.  Never cared much for the big hit and KCRG never did play it on the radio due to it's subject matter but he actually did a earlier version of this song with The Miller Band (led by Steve (Fly Like An Eagle) Miller) and it was a live version done in front of the hippies in San Francisco. Even back then Berry was very erratic on stage, for some reason he loved to shout out Ole every other time the songs ended.  In the 1990's Polygram reissued all of Chuck's forgettable Mercury output for a short while, the Live album actually featured bonus cuts, later on Rebound Records shoved this in the bargain bins missing a couple tracks off and on.  You can live without this but if you must try to find the Mercury album for all the Ole's you can stand.  Ole' Muthafucka.

8.  WTF-Heart 2010  From Red Velvet Car, or the first meeting with Ben Mink which proved to be such a success that they retained his services for the fun Fanatic.  One thing about the Wilson sisters, they do know how to rock.  Always have.

9.  Summer Day Reflection Song-Donovan  1965  Before Epic, Donovan made some great folk music that Hickory picked up and Sony Music did add on the Essential Donovan 2 fer that came in earlier this year.  Long time ago Bell Records cherry picked some of the better Hickory singles for a decent best of that I found and played and is now lost among the stacks upon stacks of LPs around here.  I'm in the minority here but always thought Sunshine Superman was too strange for radio and the version on the Essential cd still confirms that.  The king of Hippie Dippy Music, that is Donovan Leitch.

10. One Love/People Get Ready (extended mix)-Bob Marley & The Wailers 1984  From the Legend bonus tracks reissue this a moreorless a dub extension of the post dated release that made it to the charts three years after Marley passed on.  Marley and the Wailers really don't get much in terms of dub recordings, but this version does ride a nice groove.

Five more freaky tunes.

I Need Love-The Third Booth 1967  (Band from Canton Illinois that made a one off single for Independence Records and even though it was listed on the Pebbles Volume 1 series, it wasn't on the CD.  Not sure if the label corrected that, I'm not that interested in purchasing another copy for another omission.

Someone That I Used To Know-Goyte 2012
What Would Joan Jett Do?-The Launderettes 2007
I'm Not The Same Without You-Donald Fagen 2012
High Rolling Man-Neil Diamond 1972

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Crabbys-Best Music Stores 2012

In the past year of compiling the best record stores in the area, the field has gotten crowded with two new discoveries replacing a couple on the list.  In the era of the fading record stores some have cropped up under the radar.  Not sure about Mohair Pear in Waterloo/Cedar Falls area and there's a couple out in Des Moines that I have been referred to, Zzzz's I've been there and they hold their own but it's not a place I'd would go to since parking there sucks.  With a FYE store in the mall perhaps sometime in the future I'll consider it but the CD Warehouse up there has a very poor selection and nobody really wants to spend 8.99 for a used CD when they can find it cheaper at the Half Priced Bookstore there.

Again Cedar Rapids doesn't have a decent record store but we have Half Priced Books and that has more than often gone above and beyond the call of duty with odd finds in the dollar section and still maintains the number one rating for best used record store (Can't consider them a real record store although they tend to have more import vinyl LPs but expensive as hell unless they throw them in the sale bin)  At times I think of opening up a store of new music but with the public more on the internet than music store that would be a money pit.  So I continue to do what's best and frequent various places of used stuff.  Salvation Army, Stuff Etc, Siegel's Pawnshop, Goodwill and Pawn America although the CD section at Pawn America has really dwindled over the past year.  Looks like they might going the way of Super Pawn or Mister Money in not selling anymore used CDs.  We'll see in our next trip to Mad City.

I haven't done much in Junkshop shopping, The Springville Junkshop is open and has strange hours but where else can you find a lost cd by The Fartz?  The Sycamore Junkshop is no longer but Iowa City continues to have the The Crowded Closet and Housewerks to go with Record Collector, the only music store that I know of in I City.   Dubuque has their share of pawnshops in Downtown but you need a tenuous shot just in case, some of those places are real riff raff and some of the help there look like they don't have their rabies shot either.  But they do have a St Vincent De Paul's somewhere up there and of course Moondog Music and CD's 4 Change.

Mad City, my Madison, still the CD capitol of the area with Mad City Music X, Strictly Discs, Frugal Muse, Pawn America, their Goodwill stores, and Half Priced Books 2 of them to keep me happy.  Why do you think I stay at the Microtel when I'm there?  Walking distance to Pawn America, Cracker Barrel, HP Books and to a lesser extend Best Buy and Pre Played but their CD section is shrinking as well.  The Exclusive Company (Say it with me!) and B Sides on State Street have their share of decent selection too but the majority of fun stuff is found at Mad City Music X, Strictly Disc and the St Vincent De Paul on Williamson Street.

A couple years ago I wrote off Davenport as a wasted trip but somebody clued me in on Ragged Records and this turned out the be music mecca of 45's that I have looking for find for years. Pricey sure, but some of them take me back to my childhood and any decent Brunswick copy of The Crickets under 10 dollars is a find upon itself.  The Source Bookstore was another find of vintage albums for 3 bucks or less up stairs but downstairs they have the more expensive stuff  but still a nice way to spend the afternoon there.  Co Op in Davenport is a waste of time but the Moline Co Op is much more better to find that obscure Shriekback CD that nobody seems to have.  The Mister Money in Moline no longer takes CDs.  Alas the Goodwill stores have become too antiseptic and too anonymous to the point they lost their dusty charm and basically they throw their records into crates that tend to bend and break records.  The Salvation Army in both locations of Davenport and Moline will get you down and dirty and grimy sorting through moldy and unkempt albums but once in a while I have been known to score some interesting stuff, a Bobby Darin Motown best of, Dave Dudley albums for Rice Records stuff that doesn't interest you but it does me.  

2012 is shaping up the be the best year ever for me to find 45s in junk shops or Salvation Army stores, I still can't figure that one out but I'm not complaining since I managed to sneak home about 30 of them from the Arizona trip and thankful that the TSA didn't break any of them, for their sake.  But home, there's been no shortage of 7 inch wonders from the likes of Salvation Army home, Iowa City, Davenport, Kingman all included.  But still the CD finds of the year have been beyond belief too.  Never thought I could find Chicago Line by John Mayall ever again.  But that's always been the luck of the draw and whatever came to mind on the want list. Even beyond my expectations.

So,  here we go.  Those who think being here in Iowa doesn't have anything but flat land and corn and pigs and farms, you haven't been to my neck of the woods or places to hang out.  But I reveal to you my picks of where to go to find the obscure and even something sought after.  Your opinion may be different and these 10 picks are my faves  From number 1 to 10 they have something to offer, but the higher they are the higher I'm more to be at.

Best Record Store: (New)

1.  Ragged Records (Davenport)
2.  Mad City Music X  (Madison)
3.  Moondog Music (Dubuque)
4.  Record Collector (Iowa City)
5.  CD's 4 Change (Dubuque)
6.  Co Op Records (Moline)
7.  Best Buy (CR, Davenport, Madison)
8.  Strictly Discs (Madison)
9.  The Exclusive Company (Madison)
10. FYE  (Des Moines, Moline)
11. Books A Million (Dubuque, Davenport)
12. Target (Various)
13. B Sides (Madison)
14.  Z's (Des Moines)/
       Vinyl Cafe (Ames) 
15. Wal Mart-(Various)

The Vinyl Cafe is something that was called to my attention.  Perhaps that might get me to get out to Ames once again since the closing of Hastings. They opened in 2010 which was around the time that Hastings closed up shop.

Best used music stores or junkshops of note:

1.  Half Priced Books (CR, DM, Madison)  (or my second home)
2.  Frugal Muse (Madison)
3.  Salvation Army (Marion, IC, CR, Madison, Quad Cities)
4.  Housewerks (Iowa City)
5.  Sweet Living Antiques (Iowa City)
6.  St. Vincent De Paul (Madison,Waterloo)
7. Siegal's (CR)
8. Pawn America (Madison)
9. Goodwill (Various)
10. Source Bookstore (Davenport)
11. Mister Money (IC, Madison)
12. Junkshoppe (Springville)

PS Des Moines has three more record store that I have yet to venture to see, Wayback, Red Rooster and The Underground Rockshop which is on 617 Euclid Ave in Des Moines.  Another Rockshop has a Newton Iowa address but looks a bit bare boned for me to consider a trip.

Red Rooster is located at 509 Euclid Ave, DM.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


You probably didn't see this but this came over the wire that Kris Roe had a total meltdown when The Ataris Drummer Rob couldn't keep a beat and Roe threw cymbals and drums at the retreating departed Rob.  I basically wouldn't have known this had I not read Anti Music's story on this.

Rob's response.

Sometimes that's the way it goes when your in a band that had a minor hit with a cover of Boys Of Summer.  I have heard some of The Ataris' music and we'll leave it at that.  The drummer may have been lagging or had other things on his mind but nobody should have to deal with what Kris Roe did.  Other drummers may have fight the dude.  I would have.

More meltdown came from Billie Joe Armstrong during the I Heart festival in Vegas last month and threw a bunch of F bombs over trying to get through Basket Case and had one minute to do it and he only was a quarter of the way through.  So, he blew up, threw a bunch of F bombs and smashed his guitar in the process.  Mike the bass player also joins in the smash fun. Dig this rock star moment

I love Green Day as much as the next person maybe even more but their single Oh Love is a earworm hell that has been chewing up my brain all through the week in the paradise we call packaging in our place of work. And somehow The Great Pretender from The Platter seems to play as well and it's annoying for 6 straight hours five days a week, it seems that way.  All this music and all i get is the same two shitty songs over and over.  And of course our favorite Cumulus owned crap station KRNA plays Oh Love 4 times a eight hour night (2 at the very least).  So basically that's my meltdown of the week.

BB Cunningham, well respected Memphis session player played on The Hombre's 1968 hit Let It Out (let it all hang out).  RIP.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Top Ten Of The Week-Alex Karras-Hero

No shortage of bargains this week as Best Buy continues to chop their CD selection down big time with a Clarence Sale of ridding their inventory of the Wicked Cool Records that they partnered with Little Steven about five years ago and most of them are in the dollar section.  Some of the best garage rock of the 2000's can be found with the likes of the Hawaii Mud Bombers, KO And The Knockouts, the Maggots, The Chesterfield Kings, The Novaks and plenty more.  Alas, all the Len Price 3 CDs have been snapped up.

Also Best Buy has gotten rid  all of the Four Seasons Collector Choice comps for five bucks and Spike Jones In Stereo can be had for 5 bucks as well.  I have that cd one time and although it's fun from Spike it has dated pretty badly.  Perfect for Halloween if you're tired of the same old same old.

The Arizona Crabby Awards are out and this basically my favorite places to find bargain cds.  Hastings has been very good to me and I went to five of them,  The best places in this order are 1) Lake Havasu City, 2) Prescott, 3) Flagstaff  4) Bullhead City 5) Kingman.

Best Zia Stores for me was.  1) Las Vegas, 2) Tucson, 3) Chandler 4) Thunderbird-Phoenix, 5) Indian School Rd-Phoenix, 6) Tempe

FYE-Gilbert Rd  Mesa
FYE-Fiesta Mall

And of course Half Priced Books was very good to me out there.

The new Rolling Stones best of GRRRR (to which one goes when found out there's another Stones best of to contend with) has the usual 2 cd and super box format which has more oddities and worth getting if you don't have 40 Licks which has done just fine for me.

Sad to say that I didn't make a special trip to Beaudraunt  over the weekend so it wasn't me that won the 202 million dollar lottery.  Or Williamsburg where somebody won a million dollars.  But I always seem to hit the fucking red light on top of that fucking hill known as Mount Vernon, or Highway To Hell stop lights on 13 here. Or any red lights in particular to which a semi comes out in front of me just to slow things down even more.  Demons working overtime here.


Alex Karras, best Iowa lineman we ever had and not in the Hall Of Fame either, spent all his career as a Detroit Lion and played during the Black and Blue wars of the 60s to where stadiums were cold and cavernous and fields would turn into mud and quicksand during those rainy games in Tiger Stadium. He best remembered as trying to block Tom Dempsey's 63 yard FG to which he made and The Saints beat the Lions. 

Karras retired and had a fairly successful career in the movies and TV, playing the guy that knocked out a horse in Blazing Saddles and later better known as Webster's father on the Webster show.  He also replaced Don Meredith in the booth during Monday Night Football for a few seasons and best known line of calling Otis Sistrunk, the famed Oakland Raider DT, from the university of Mars.  Karras passed away from kidney failure at age 77.  He will be missed.

The picture above is the perfect example of a Saints TE giving Alex a foot in the nuts to keep him away and this is the first time I have ever seen this picture.  If the blocker didn't do that, Alex would have shoved it down Dempsey's throat.
Just in case you forgotten all about it,  his famous scene from Blazing Saddles. RIP Mongo

The Top Ten Of The Week:

1.  In The Midnight Hour-Roxy Music 1980  Basically a shout out to KCDX which played this song in my time in Arizona and reminds me of how good radio used to be before Cumulus and Clear Channel bought everything up and turned it to overplayed crapola.  God forbid if KRNA didn't play something off Back In Black every hour on the hour.  I could have added The Velvet Underground's Venus In Furs since that was also played on KCDX but since nobody really plays anything from Roxy Music outside of Love Is The Drug or More Than This, thought I give Bryan Ferry and the boys a shout out.  From the problematic 1980 Flesh And Blood LP.

2.  Sum Up Broke-The International Submarine Band 1966  I'm sure everybody is getting burned out by the monthly Singles Going Steady segments that documents some of my finds around Arizona and places close by but I'm absolutely floored of what I have found this year.  2012 is the best year of finding quality 45s and perhaps the biggest find of the year had to be this Columbia promo of the band that used to have Gram Parsons in it before he went to join the Byrds.  I've never seen the single before today and to find it for 50 cents is probably the closest thing to robbery since it commands 3 figures in the Ebay department. Needless to say it didn't chart at all and probably was one of those promo singles you used to get when you went to the drive in and they give you a box of 10 records for a prize.  I knew that ISB recorded for Lee Hazelwood's LHI Records but the Columbia single I had no ideal about.  It turned out to be the only single that they recorded for Columbia.  Reissued via Raven Records.  Also Sundazed reissued this as a 7 inch single as well.

3.  Turn It Up-Texas Hippie Coalition 2012   Time for me to bitch and moan about the "real rock" station that is KRNA that will play Blind Melon's No Rain, which is annoys more in this day and age than when the dude was still alive and the Bee Girl was a still a teenager.  The narrow minded KRNA playlist is puke inducing the say the very least and as long as there's a Crabby Top Ten, there'll be more rants on how they suck and how Cumulus suck and how every station they have here sucks as well.  The THC is real dirt rock, my last review of their album still stands.  I guess you can call THC the real rock band of the decade since they remind me of Texas Rock and Roll that goes back to ZZ Top and the first Baby album (not related to John Waite and The Babys-way different band).  If you want real country, it's not on the KHAK (also owned by Cumulus) but the new Waylon Jennings Goin Down Rockin, which is touted as the final recordings of Hoss'.

4.  You're On My Mind-KO And The Knockouts 2007   I commend Little Steven for trying to save garage rock and roll when he started up Wicked Cool Records five years ago and most of what I heard is great stuff although radio never played anything from his label.  FYE picked up where Best Buy left off but Wicked Cool stuff was more rarer than it was at Best Buy.  And Steven Van Zant's Coolest Songs In The World series was last decade's answer to Nuggets.  Still, it took a dollar liquidation sale for me to check out KO and company.  Which sounds like Detroit's answer to The Primitives which is a good thing.  Jim Diamond, garage rock producer to The Von Blondies, Mooney Suzuki, White Stripes, The Volebeats produces this as well.

5.  Only Rock And Roll Can Save Us-Tyler Read 2006   Last decade was perhaps the most failure in terms of classic rock and roll but that didn't mean people were not trying.  But if you were not on a major label chances are you were not going to get noticed.  Tyler Read was a rowdy rock band that got signed to Immoral Records which was home to kOrn, Incubus and Bare Jr. and at times were aligned with Epic or Virgin Records but was on their own when Tyler Read signed with them and soon after their album got released, the label folded.  However, Pop Opera Records remixed and released the album and nobody paid much attention to it either.  I found a copy for 50 cents at Hastings.  Which means nothing to you.

6.  Let Yourself Go-Green Day 2012  For all the hype and hoopla of the new Green Day, Uno! returns was a disappointment compared to Mumford & Sons Babel to which Tad compares to stadium rock and I might agree with that.  Pompous as hell too.  But then again that could be applied to Green Day as well.  The old crank blogger wishes they would go away but this old crank blogger likes the majority of the new album as it returns them back to punk/pop sound that got them big record sales and band of the decade honors.  I always liked the three chord power play of the band more than the fake Brit Billie Joe Armstrong that he's been doing all his career but was just about ready to write them off from their pompous 21st Century Breakdown effort.  Armstrong still loves to throw out those F bombs it seems but be careful, we don't want you to be a fuddy duddy like Johnny Lydon became when he got old.

7.  You Ain't Thinking (About Me)-Sonia Dada 1992   Jarrod Neiman had a big hit when he covered You Don't Treat Me No Good No More a couple years ago and it turned out to be a bigger hit for him than it ever did for Chicago's Sonia Dada, so I was a bit surprised that they didn't tell him to seek another cover of that band's output.  If I was A and R director I would have chosen this little number instead of country turd Real Women Drink Beer, which seems to the Nashville norm now.  As for Sonia Dada, they haven't been heard from since Test Pattern which was eight years ago.

8.  Your Loving Is Alright-Trapeze 1970  Quick now who was the only band that recorded for Threshold that was part of the Moody Blues?  There may have been another band but Trapeze recorded three albums for that label and though I never heard the first album reviewers called it the closest thing to the Moody Blues themselves.  On Medusa, Trapeze turns into Humble Pie despite John Lodge's best efforts to not make them sound like the Pie.  Credit or blame Glenn Hughes for that, he's one of those vocalists that you either like or hate and the only time I can tolerate him was during the Deep Purple years to which David Coverdale neutralizes the oversinging of Glenn from time to time.  Medusa is a cult album, the title track Hughes dusted off the second album of Black Country Communion, a band that has been mighty busy recording three albums and a live one past five years.  No wonder Joe Bonamassa needs a break.  Your some airplay on the FM dial.  Just not alot of it.

9.  Fanatic-Heart 2012  Credit the Wilson sisters for returning and making a damn fine album the way they used to before the 80s came along and damn near ruin their street cred with the overplayed Never or What About Love and MTV tried many ways to disguise that Ann weighted about 300 pounds back then.  Nevertheless she sang great then and does now and has slimmed down a lot over the years.  Nancy Wilson still remains hot over 50, is in love again and is trying new ways and means to make great music.  Fanatic the album is their best since Bebe La Strange and Ben Mink, their producer has got them back to basis.  No Ron Nevison's poofy keyboard fluff anywhere.  Just they way I like it.  Too bad your Cumulus owned rock radio station or classic rock barfathon won't play this new album. It doesn't fit their format.  But we all know it's too Real rock for KRNA.  (this is where you the reader come in and say F bomb KRNA)

10.  When The Sun Shines At Midnight-Starcastle  1978  The first three albums Starcastle revealed a love of prog rock and YES via the YES album and although they were on Epic the longest time without any major hits, album number 4 finally shows the label demanding some type of hits for the radio and getting the producer of the week to help them along the way, but they ended up with Jeffrey Lesser who turned them into Head East (parts of Real to Reel sound like the S/T Head East album that Lesser did produce for that band in 78).  Fans rebelled, the band disowned the album and Epic bid them adieu.  Not all the album is a pop sellout, in fact some of side 2 does feature the trademark harmonies that made Starcastle a good prog rock band in their own right.  This song is probably the most YES sounding although this does remind me a lot of Lake's Do I Love You, but the guitars at the end make it Starcastle in the end.  I didn't get into them when they were around but as I get older I tend to enjoy their type of prog rock although Real To Reel is still scorned upon by Starcastle fans.  Epic did issue their first album as one of their own but the folks at Renaissance have the rest in print (sans Citadel which is a complaint) and can be located at better record stores across the nation.  It's up to you to locate them.

Five other things that sounded good on KCDX

If You Could Read My Mind-Gordon Lightfoot 1970
Need A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues-Dave Edmunds 1974
Children Of The Universe-Flash 1972
Life In The Foodchain-Tonio K 1978
Queen Elvis-Robyn Hitchcock 1991

Sunday, October 7, 2012

New Music Green Day, Heart, Ian Hunter, THC

Observations From The Forefront:

Bob Lefsetz continues to blow hot air on his new found love of Munford & Sons who almost sold 600 thousand copies of their latest albums and most of the time, Hot Air Bob continues to chastise the struggling new musician who will never make it, since he will not like your music and will continue to think that it will suck despite your efforts to get it out to the masses.  The voice of senility from somebody whose becoming outdated and irrelevant like my blogs.  Point is, if your a new and struggling musician, there's not much out there for you to break your music outside of social internet outlets and don't expect your Cumulus and Clear Channel owned stations to cut you anything either.  I have nothing against Munford & Sons and basically I'm not into their music but that doesn't mean that I enjoy seeing them go against the odds and make an album that people actually buy.  Word of mouth does still work and maybe a Cumulus owned station may pick up a Munford & Sons song to run it in the ground just like they did with Norah Jones Don't Know Why and avoid the rest.  Granted most new music isn't all that great but that's up to mind and ears of the listener and not some pompous old dude trying to stay current.  Problem is nowadays we are over-saturated with so much music and on demand but the tradeoff is not enough time to take it all in.  Time poverty indeed.  I still have enough cds from the Arizona trip yet to be listened to.   Nevertheless, Lefsetz continues to bad mouth the nostalgia acts that have new albums out (Green Day, No Doubt, Matchbox 20 included) while triumphing up and comers like Adele or Munford & Sons.  If you don't like either new Green Day or No Doubt so be it, but there's folks out there that still do or the new Dylan album which is now passe since the two week expiration has expired and now making the south way down the charts. Some people out there (like me) think there's some melody on Uno!  You can read more about Bob's love affair with Munford at the link and draw your own conclusions although he does speak some truth towards the end.  But that doesn't mean you should just give up, not everybody is closed minded and have time poverty of their own.  If there's a fan base and enough of it you still just might make it, against all odds.

Speaking of Green Day, Uno! (Reprise) is a punk return to their roots and three chord punk and roll which made albums like Dookie or Insomniac classic albums in their own right.  I like American Idiot but thought 21st Century Breakdown was way overwhelming and too over the top for me to play it and called it their worst since Nimrod.  Even Billie Joe Armstrong may have thought that too so he simplified things.  The big push of the single Oh Love and hearing 5 times per 8 hour working day via Cumulus owned KRNA made me just about boycott the album but Armstrong actually incorporates a bit of Free' All Right Now in the chords. Uno is part of a three album set of Green Day albums that will come out every other month, next album in November and the last in January and perhaps that may backfire on them but for me Uno is the Green Day that I used to know and love in my late punk rock mood although it doesn't sound all that much different than the last two Len Price 3 albums (which were better BTW).  Armstrong while pushing 40 now throws plenty of F bombs along the way and they do throw a bit of Clash in there on Kill The MF DJ but they also wave their Who flag quite well on Stay The Night and lead track Nuclear Family.  The nadir is that Billie Joe tends to use the F bomb way too much, so kids may want to head to Wally World for the clean version to which you get the special version that lets you unlock certain things on the Green Day/Angry Birds website.  But Uno! remains good punk rock fun from an aging band that certain old fucks want nothing to do but this fan thinks that it's alright with him.

Heart Fanatic (Legacy)  is perhaps their hardest rocking album since Bebe Le Strange as Nancy Wilson adds a bit more guitar dirt and grunge and roll but they haven't given up their love of Led Zeppelin as it shows on the title track, the oddball Mashallah! and Corduroy Road but Ben Mink, their producer adds a bit more electronic noise on A Million Miles and although critics have a hard time trying to figure out Walkin Good, which Sarah McLaughlin adds vocals as well, I find it more interesting than A Million Miles which goes on too long.  But Heart does give a nod to Pearl Jam and the Seattle scene with the PJ sounding 59 Crunch or bonus track Two Silver Wings which goes nowhere.  Ann Wilson can still sing them and Nancy can bring the guitar, this album makes you want to forget the plastic sounding Ron Nevison years which they got hits on Capitol but lost their soul in the process, Fanatic and the previous album Red Dirt Car restores my faith in them.

Speaking of old farts, Ian Hunter is back with When I'm President (Slimstyle) and although I haven't paid much attention to him in years since All The Good Ones Are Taken thirty years ago, he's never really stop making good music, Shrunken Heads notwithstanding.  He has put together a very good band featuring Heath And Happiness' James Mastro and Steve Holley on drums, the album is co produced with Andy York (John Mellencamp, Hearts & Minds, Jason And The Scorchers). Hunter touches on his own glam roots on Comfortable (Flying Scotsman), shouts out Jerry Lee Lewis on What For, and will lean heavily on the 1 percent on When I'm President to which he would get my vote.  Like Dylan, Hunter's vocals were not what they used to be but they still have a bit of melody and plenty of humorous sass to them, including sing along Saint and tells the listener that's it's only Life at the end.  And he's not dead yet either.  A top ten best of 2012 candidate.

And then there's Texas Hippie Coalition.  They been around for a few years but didn't hear anything about them till I saw their latest album Peacemaker (Carved Records) and MA video Turn It Up.  Think of them as Circus Of Power with Phillip Anselmo on vocals and you get the idea how they sound.  Led by Big Dad Ritch, he and his band of outlaws tear it up on ten red dirt metal rock too intense for your Cumulus owned station and all he sells is Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll and telling where the devil where to go too.  It might be too intense for you too. Produced by Bob Marlette (Saliva, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nickleback).

Green Day-Uno!  A-
Heart-Fanatic B+
Ian Hunter & The Rant Band-When I'm President A-
Texas Hippie Coalition-Peacemaker B+
Band Of Horses-Mirage Rock B+

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Singles Going Steady 7-Arizona Singles

Singles meaning of forty fives found at various locations in the great AZ, desert.  I posted a few of them last week on the poorly received top ten of the week but since I like to showoff my self indulgence in the art of finding 3 minute ditties on 7 inch plastic, I continue to do this against the better judgement of the internet community. 

Most of the finds were at the Half Priced Bookstore in downtown Phoenix on a quiet Sunday morning if you can believe that.  Some have some value for me, Hawks, Need Your Love has been a highly sought after collectible since they hailed from Iowa and further proof that CBS Columbia screwed up in promoting them.  Others like Tommy Roe's Sheila is a nod back to the past of being a small child but still being fascinated by the ABC Paramount logo spinning around to the point of being under its spell for the rest of these years.  Some of the 45s found were replacement copies of long overplayed ones in my collection (Sunday Morning comes to mind).  I think I quit buying 45s around the mid 80s when the labels decided to add that ugly barcode to the label, their own way of 'tagging' but further research revealed that the vinyl used simply wasn't as strong or good sounding of the 45's of the 60s.  Even though the public eventually quit buying them, forty fives were still made for the juke boxes of the 1990s.  But today independent labels continue to put things out on 7 inch vinyl and forty fives are making a comeback of sorts.  No, they won't be as plentiful as they used to be, none of the department stores sell them anyway.  But your local record store provided if you're lucky to be near one might still have them. 

Nice to see my computer mess up, I just lost a couple paragraphs along the way,  Thank you Firefox.  Guess we'll move on to ten notables.

1.  Dancing In the Ruins-Blue Oyster Cult 1986  Columbia 38-05845  Classic rock radio only plays two BOC songs and you know which ones they are.  One of them isn't this.  It came out later in the mid 80s to which BOC was a parody of itself and Club Ninja the worst album they ever done.  Losing the Borchard Brothers didn't help much either.  However this song may have been the best highlight of that album sung by Buck Dharma to which if you think about it, the hits were sung by him.  I'm surprised this didn't do better on the charts than it did although it does sound like a rewrite of Burning For You.

2.  Chasing You Into The Light-Jackson Browne  1989  Elektra 7-69262  This was one song that I liked so much that I ended up buying World In Motion on CD which was a big mistake and when I sold that cd off forgot all about it till I saw the 45 at the shop.  There's so much more to Jackson and Running On Empty or Doctor My Eyes that classic rock radio tends to overlook his later stuff (Lawyers In Love, That Girl Can Sing) and why Browne never included this song on his best ofs remains one reason why he has sold one less copy of his greatest hits. 

3.  House Of The Rising Sun-Frijid Pink 1970  Parrot 45-341  Had the old jukebox copy from Ole's Ham And Egger when they stock that jukebox with the hits of the time and then when their time was up you could buy them at Town Square Bookstore (now gone) five for a dollar.  Hell the grooves were worn off when I finally got it and basically played the other side Drivin' Blues to which has been given some Top Ten love back in the past.  This was heavy metal before heavy metal was born and although Uriah Heep and Deep Purple and Black Sabbath have been given the HM tag, Frijid Pink should be included just on this said song which was a three and half minute edit from the album.  I remember they had the jukebox cranked up loud at Ole's and you could hear plenty more of bass to it.  Great times, great memories, playing pinball at Oles and eating some of the greasiest food ever made known to man.

4.  Jimmy Brown-George Richey  1966  Hickory K-1441  The biggest fun of going singles hunting is the unknown stuff out there and there was two Hickory singles that caught my eye.  One was Maurie by the Swinging Gentry Singers (Hickory 1498) which may have been the inspiration from A Mighty Wind and less said the better, Jimmy Brown on the other hand was sang by a then unknown country singer who would go on to produce Sonny James and Tammy Wynette to which he would marry years later.  I can see why he went into production, he's not a great singer and this sounds like he's trying to sound like Johnny Cash and ends up more like Del Reeves. In other words a novelty song.  Not much is known about this record outside Dorsey Burnette produced this and co wrote it.  You can't find it on You Tube so you're on your own.  When I'm on my bargain hunting adventures I tend to seek out certain labels, ABC Paramount one, Hickory the other.  They tend to have some interesting history behind their music.  Including the Swinging Gentry Singers whoever they were.

5.  Night In My Veins-Pretenders  1994  Sire/WB  7-18163  Further proof of 45's in the 90s was this hit single from Crissie Hynde and friends and it featured the return of Martin Chambers on drums too.  B side is a very moving version of Angel Of The Morning to which didn't make the album.

6.  Best Friend-Puppet 1969  Date 2-1666  Remember Courtship Of Eddie's Father, that old show with Bill Bixby?  Not too many do, but this song was used for the opening theme.  Written by Harry Nilsson, Puppet actually did it note for note but sounds a bit more poppier. Sandy Salisbury is the vocalist on this, not Harry by the way. (duh).

7.  Living In A Dream-Arc Angels  1992  DGC/Geffen 7-19135  Life after Stevie Ray Vaughan Double Trouble hooks up with Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie (Beats So Lonely) Sexton to record a down and dirty hour long album to which I still like a lot to this day.  Too bad the band didn't last very long, Double Trouble went on to another band Storyville for a couple more blues based albums rather than the rock n roll of Arc Angels the album.  B side Sent By Angels also got plenty of airplay on the radio, mostly from "real rock" knowitalls KRNA before Cumulus brought them out to be just another crappy radio station playing same old shit everybody is sick of hearing.  No Arc Angels though.

8.  Compared To What-Ray Charles  1980  Atlantic 3762  Disco Ray, doing a disco version of the Gene McDaniels protest song done better by Les McCain/Eddie Harris and Brian Auger.  Strange though, I never seen the 45 till last week.

9.  Melody-David Johansen 1979  Blue Sky ZS9-2781  Another artist of the past that I never did see any of their singles till later in life, David was the voice and vision of New York Dolls a band I didn't get into till sometime the last five years ago and then filled in the blanks with albums from the Dolls and Johansen.  Another head scatching single that didn't do better on the charts although I do admit I've never heard anything off the radio from David, nor the Dolls.

10.  Peter Gunn-Ray Anthony 1957?  Capitol  F4041  Finally to conclude the AZ singles, comes from a 45 that I used to have as a child and played it a few times before it got cracked and found a much better copy later. Anthony specialized in cover versions of muzak versions but once in a while he could rock the orchestra such as this 1 minute forty six seconds of  a cover of Henry Mancini's song.  Thought it was definite till I heard Duane Eddy's version.  Then all bets were off.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Observations: AZ 30, RnR HOF, Assorted Crap

Four days back from Arizona, I'm back at my crappy job and had to go to the ER after Norman the Buffoon slammed his pallet on the floor and I lost my hearing in my left ear for about 10 minutes.  After fighting dizzyness and headaches I decided to go to ER since it was work related due to incompetent actions but tests revealed the eardrum didn't rupture and things look okay in there.  I always had the damn ringing in the ears but never to the point of losing my hearing.  It isn't rock music that going make me lose my hearing but rather dumbfucks at work being cute or a screaming spoiled rotten brat at the book store.

And how do you do folks?

Are you sick and tired of seeing rock acts not worthy of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame like Red Hot Chili Peppers or Grandmaster Flash?  Would you love to see Deep Purple, Heart or Rush make it to the hollowed grounds of Cleveland without Jann Wanner fucking around and going with flavors of some forgotten decade?  Now is your chance to vote your band.  There's a online fan poll going on that will have the top five voted bands to make it in the HoF which means Rush will finally get in.  Of the last time I checked it was Rush, Deep Purple and Heart in that order but things can change.  Other notables are Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Albert King, The Marvelettes, Donna Summer, Joan Jett, Public Enemy, Procol Harum, Randy Newman, Kraftwerk, The Meters and Chic.  Kinda nice to see Albert King in the top five but will he last to make it there?  Time will tell.

The latest Arizona getaway turned out to be one of the more schizophrenic trips in terms of finding CDs.  I thought I bring home around 30, turned out to be about 65 of them; blame Hastings in their four locations of cheap cds under 4 dollars, Lake Havasu City always seems to have the cheaper ones up there and they were the best store followed by Prescott, Bullhead City and Kingman bringing up the rear.  I spend more time in the Kingman store than in the others but they seem to be picked clean of decent cheapies. But then again there's not much for music stores in Kingman outside of K Mart and who goes to K Mart for CD's anyway?  Oh, forgot Wal Mart.  I didn't figure the pawnshops had much, Pawn World in Kingman quit selling them and the other pawnshop had crap that nobody wanted and has been up there for years.   Still, finding cheap 2 dollar Cds at Half Priced Books in Phoenix/Mesa, the Hastings 2 for a dollar specials and Zia's,  Going to Record City or  the professional music store of Wax Trax simply didn't figure much in it for me, especially when I found 25 forty fives for 50 cents at HP Books.  It's more fun to find them cheaper at the lesser known stores, which is why when they ask me what I am looking for I say I'm looking for bargains and hope I don't get thrown out the door for being that way.

Arizona is a red state, a right to work state which means anybody GOP gets elected down there.  Much to chagrin of my left wing friends, I do like Joe Aprino  the long time no bullshit sheriff of Maricopa County and got a kick out of his commercials that he's a friend of the four legged animals.  But in my place of zen, which is Crookton Pass Bridge, some right wing nutjob managed to plant a few anti Obama stickers on the Road Closed sign which annoyed me to the point that I just started tearing the GD things off the sign and throwing them on the ground.  I'm not all that thrilled with Obama but I detest having historical places getting defaced by either taggers who have to spraypaint their BS on each and every thing (I'm looking at you Las Vegas) or assholes who littered by placing hateful stickers on my sanctuary of getting away from it all.   I'm sure the fools may have come back and plastered more of them but next time if  I see them, I'll be tearing them down too. Word of warning.

For the most part, I survived the desert with plenty of 79 cent Big Gulps, those Tornados that Circle K or 7-11 would sell and four dollar value meals at Del Taco which are a hell of lot better than that crap they have at Taco Bell.  Kingman had them, so did Vegas and Lake Havasu City, two soft shell and a hardshell chicken taco to boot, I could eat those things most of the time.  And although I don't consider Panda Express to be real Chinese, it was fast food and it was pretty tasty too.  But nothing still beats chicken fried rice at Metro Center's Jade Express to which I had to stop on a Friday Night to eat.  I try to avoid the malls on Friday nights and weekends but since I was coming to Metrocenter one time, I thought I'd get that out of the way.

While I spending time out in the desert I pretty much missed the turning of the leaves at home to which everything was bright reds, yellow and oranges when the plane came back home. I may attempt to do some sightseeing of the leaves by the Mississippi this weekend but I think I'm done with the bargain hunts for a while.  I may take a flyer on the Mad City Autumn Fest of Bargains end of month.  But I found so much stuff in Arizona that I actually put back a few things, the new Dave Matthews, There Goes The Neighborhood by Joe Walsh, A Fistful Of Dollars S/T but even to the end on a last stop at the last FYE store before the airport I managed to come up with Duane Eddy's 1988 album for Capitol on CD and a Brownsville Station Out On The Top as well.

To the end, dedicated for the bargains and out of print.