Monday, April 30, 2012

End Of Month Thoughts April

Been a very shitty weekend here.  Saturday, the purple piece of shit brakeline broke and I had no brakes and today the gray car decided to join in on the fun and basically leave me stranded a few miles outside of Marion.

Perfect ending to a crappy month.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

More Pawnshop Finds Of The Week

Ever since I have been taking the player up to work to listen to all that I have acquired over the years, I still seem to have no problem of finding more stuff in the used bins at our local pawnshop or Half Priced Books.  Sometimes I do come across a stinker (Pinkard & Bowen Live) but once again I found a bunch more of hard to believe they got rid of that.

I'm supposed to thin my collection out but in the process what I get rid of, I replace with more.  It's too bad I can't trade some of the unwanted stuff for more time to listen to it all but we keep trying to impress ourselves of what is out there.  The majority of time we find a couple here or there but this week found some more time wasters.  Most  of them coming from the same owner judging by the scruff marks of some of them (he must have been using a car player for them).  As they say, envy me and be amazed what was thrown out.

Widespread Panic-Uber Cobra
Canned Heat Cookbook
Jimi Hendrix-Valleys Of Neptune
Hawkwind-Epocheclipse (The Ultimate Best Of)
Nick Lowe-Jesus Of Cool
Joe Perry Project-Once A Rocker Always A Rocker
Richie Furay-I Still Have Dreams
Little Feat And Friends-Join The Band
Lonnie Mack-From Nashville To Memphis
Omar Kent Dykes & Jimmy Vaughan-On The Jimmy Reed Highway
Pinkard & Bowen Live

With the Tuesday's stuff, plus the new Jack White and Eve 6 CDs   22 cd's came into my procession so there was no shortage of music to listen to.  But it also means I need to clean house and get rid of a few more things.........

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Observations From The Forefront The Band, Mircoreviews.

Upon reading of the latest Lefsetz tribute to Levon Helm I sometimes wonder where Bob goes.  The media talked about Dick Clark's passing but also the mainfolk around here talked quite a bit about Dick Clark.  He may not like the man for he made money at what he did but you have to admire him for doing that.  Levon Helm did it the old fashioned way,  he made a name for himself in music and even though it may not made him a big millionaire, he loved music so much that he overcame cancer to have a second chance and took it to advantage with Dirt Farmer and Electric Dirt.  The voice of The Band was gone but it replaced by a world weary voice of reason.

For The Band themselves, they remain a frustration in their recording output.  Even The Best Of The Band showed their strengths and weaknesses.  I'll never get into Music From Big Pink, everytime I hear it, it leaves me cold outside of the big hit The Weight and Chest Fever 3 Dog Night did the better version (to these ears).  But The Band, the album remains their best of the way the music varies.  Rag Mama Rag I have on a forty five and took me years to really like it, Up On Cripple Creak their best song from that record and King Harvest a underrated classic.  The Capitol 2000 remaster has better sound and alternative takes up the wazoo although I don't listen to the alt takes all that much.  After that The Band's albums didn't do much for me although there were some decent failed singles (Levon's take on Ain't Got No Home, Rick Danko doing Stage Fright and of course Life Is A Carnival) and Rock Of Ages was a fine album although Capitol reissued a one cd set of the hits which as a cheap throwaway compliation works pretty good.  After the Last Waltz, Helm and Robbie Robertson would never work or speak again till a couple weeks before Helm's death that they patched things up.  At least Levon went to his grave content that he buried the hatchet with Robbie.  As for The Band's reunion albums of the 80s and 90s without Robbie, I haven't heard any of them. BTW Tad, Levon played Loretta's father on Coal Miner's Daughter, but I still enjoy him as a guest star on the SCTV show of 1981 to which he does a fine version of Summertime Blues.  Perhaps Lefsetz is right, Clark may been a TV Icon, but Levon Helm was a more musical inspiration to which tributes are still coming in as we speak...

Other things:  a reader told me to check out Justin Currie's music after the demise of Del Amitri lead me to a copy of his Rykodisc offering of 2007 What Is Love For.  It didn't do a lot for me, Currie went for a more over the top sound than he did with the Del's and after the 8th track I gave up.  The promo calls it heavy hearted and stunning, I thought it was heavy handed and cluttered.  Just didn't much for me.  Nor was Todd Rundgren's Utopia 1975 Live at The Hammersmith Odeon to which Rundgren was going from heavy handed prog rock to over the top rock and roll that sounded a bit like the basis of Spinal Tap.  I liked the 1992 Rhino Live version better to which the band was more power pop rock and roll than the bombast of prog rock of Mister Triscuits on the 1975 effort.  One shining moment was a faithful cover of Do Ya to which Todd did the ELO version rather than the Move version.  The 1975 Odeon concert shows Todd trying to decide where to go from here and eventually he would settle for a more pop rock direction and done for better use on the 1983 Utopia album but even back then he knew covers very well.

And after a month of few reviews, The Rock n Roll And Brains blogs has once again waken up to more views and has returned to the top spot of most viewed blogs on this site.  If this blog gets 5,000 views (it will take a while) then we will once again fill up Andy McKaie's mail box on getting this album reissued on CD before we're all dead and gone.  But choice of the matter is that the new Delta Moon CD will be out before that ever happens.  We'll keep trying to get it reissued (Geez, Andy, put it out in limited edition of 2,000, they'll be sold out before i get a copy) because we love music right?  Right!

Half Priced Books finds of the day.

Lesley Gore-I Don't Wanna  Be A Loser  (Mercury 72270)
Faron Young-Walk Tall  (Mercury 72375)
Hank Williams Jr.-Endless Sleep/My Bucket's Got A Hole In It (MGM 13278)
Garry Lee & Showdown-The Rodeo Song (Damon JR-122)

Rush Remastered (Mercury)
16 Frames-Where It Ends (Verve Forecast 2009)
Reef-Replenish (Epic 1995)
Tyler Read-Only Rock And Roll Can Save Us Now (Pop Opera 2007)
The Automatic Automatic-Not Accepted Anywhere (Columbia 2007)
Phil Collins-Dance Into The Light (Atlantic 1996)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Top Ten Of The Week-Blow It Out Of Your Ass Bob

I haven't been much in a good mood lately.  National Record Store came and gone and I wasn't a part of it.  But then again I ended up mowing the jungle outside of the Crabb house and Geezus Christ it was a mutherfucka to mow.  But that didn't piss me off.

I went to work and ended up dealing with the usual crap printers and cheap assed tape that doesn't hold the form together and comes off in the printer.  I had to resplice and take out the GD tape out of the hot rolls that are at the end of the printer but that didn't piss me off

I then preceded to take out my discman in going to the bathroom only to have it caught in my pocket and fell out on the floor, That pissed me off and I pretty told the man upstairs of what I thought about the luck that I have been getting the past couple years and that Jesus died on the cross one time.  In my case I feel like that I been nailed to the cross about 500 times more than our Savior ever did.  Okay, you can have the made in china tape come apart in the printer, you can let the grass grow so many times that ever half step the fucking mower will die and have to pull the rope to get it started.  But don't you dare ever, make it that I break my discman on the floor due to a GD technicality.  Fuck Bob Lefsetz and his future of I phones or streaming your collection on a GD I Phone, Give me a discman with G protection and I'll be content but if fate makes it that it gets dropped on the floor, I become a Atheist right then and there.  Don't get me wrong I believe in a Higher Power but when my players get dropped to the floor I question things right there and then.

Speaking of Big Mouth Lefsetz.  He goes off on the record and cd collection with this bunch of shit.

More Bullshit from TMZ.

If this why cable programming keeps going up, then it's time to pull the plug.  I get tired of seeing the same 5 movies every fucking weekend on crap cable and ESPN's crappy Sports programming that is 20 hours of Sports Center and winner winner chicken dinner.  You don't need to win the big lottery to make it big, just act stupid like the Kadashians and you too can make out like a bandit.  Fuck you too E entertainment.

Not everything is gloom and doom and rants.  There was  a nice article on Record Collector in Iowa City for 30 but the statue of limitations ran out and all we got is a 404 error.  So let me say, that Record Collector continues the only downtown record store in Iowa City and they still get some good things in from time to time, but they also get a black mark for having the wrong Blue Oyster Cult CD in the jewel case when I bought it.  But that's on me, I need to check them before checking out.

Kirk Walther is the last survivor of the Iowa City Record Store Scene, he outlasted all of them.  Sam Goody, BJ's Records, Sal's Music Emporium, Real Records, Co Op, Camelot, Musicland, FYE, and many others too many to mention.  I actually been around Kirk long enough to go back to 1985 when he was on the corner across from the Yacht Club and he's right.  That time was the busiest for him.  He didn't take too kindly of the fact one day that I visited him after coming from BJ's Records that he made a comment that he had the Animal's LP that I got down there, to which afterwards  I never made the mistake of going there after visiting the other music stores in downtown I.C.  But nowadays that's a moot point, Record Collector is the only Iowa City Record Store.  And vinyl sales are better than the CD sales about 60 to 40 on that although I still find some neat Cd's up there from time to time.  And sometimes some interesting vinyl albums as well. Congrats for 30 years Kirk.  You rock.

The Top Ten Of The Week:

1.  I Really Need Love-The Bees 2011   Out of all the British bands of this century, The Bees are the only ones that hark back to the days of Pink Floyd or The Moody Blues but at times updating their sound with a Reggae sound (thank God for spell check otherwise we all be in trouble).  They still haven't topped their Free The Bees album of 2004 problem is The Bees tend to get into a lazy sleepy vibe that tends to make the listener fall asleep.  After three albums for Asterwerks/Virgin they moved over to Fiction Records UK (ATO in the US) and made another uneven album to which the lead off track would make a great song for KDAT if KDAT ever played the GD thing.  Hell substitute and replace their name with Train and nobody would know the difference.  I take that back we would, this song is much better than Hey Soul Sister.

2.  Come On In-Sonny James 1976   Sonny was more pop country than swing when he latched on to Columbia in the 70's and he recorded some mush but this track really is nice rocking tune unbecoming like to James.  His closet thing to garage rock.  Produced by George Richey.

3.  Anna (Go To Him) Arthur Alexander 1962  I bought the 4 CD Beach Music Anthology a few months ago for 3 bucks at HP Books and played parts of it from time to time.  It's a hodgepodge of soul music of the 60's and somehow goes up to the 80s and of course some re recordings of past hits (Barbara Lewis's Atlantic recordings are not featured on this but rather remakes-they sure sound like remakes) but there's plenty of forgotten Chess and Vee Jay Recordings to make this somewhat of a keeper.  The pick from that box set is a song later done by The Beatles and make me think that Alexander is one of the unsung heroes of rhythm and blues.

4.  You Can't Win Them All-Levon Helm 1982   He did the best job of putting Robbie Robertson's words and music for the masses better than Robbie ever did but Helm's solo career was more of a cult following than with The Band.  Never heard the the ABC albums but American Son which came out on MCA got great reviews and of course you all know about his Dirt Farmer album that came out a few years ago and Helm was riding high into the sunset before throat cancer finally got the best of him last week.  This track comes from his 1982 S/T album for Capitol/MSS Records and although it didn't chart very high, somebody thought highly of it to release it on their own cd label with great liner notes and annotation by Paul Williams (former Crawdaddy writer and was part of the RCA reissue series with Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna).  Fun fact:  Levon Helm was guest star on the old SCTV show on NBC and did a couple songs from this album.  Even back then Helm could do it all, actor and singer and musician.

5.  Bad Man Walking-Gov't Mule 2004   I love Warren Haynes.  The guy can do it all and he's been doing triple time with his band, The Allman Brothers and even Phil Lesh and Friends and solo artist (he's got a new live CD on Stax that came out this week).  But Gov't Mule remains his band when he wants to jam out and every Gov't Mule goes over an hour, sometimes up to 75 minutes which tend to grate on the nerves on some that don't get into the jam band mode.  This is off Deja Voodoo, which may be the most heaviest of Gov't Mule albums out there.

6.  Mulling It Over-Blues Traveler 1991  And speaking of jam bands, we cannot forget Blues Traveler.  I remember Jerry at Relics saying how great this record was and he must have loved this record.  He played it all the fucking time but John Popper is one of the all time great harmonica players.  Yes BT have recorded plenty of albums but their first remains their best cause you never know what direction they would be heading.  They would be playing one thing and then turn around and stretch it out longer.  Hell, maybe they influenced Gov't Mule come to think of it.

7.  Two Trains-Charlie Morgan & The Graveyard Blues Band 1999   Truthfully, I played in a jam session with Charlie back in 1993 at the old Attitude's bar next to 3rd Street Live.  It was the first time I got on stage since the 1992 Routers and my old lead singer Mike Swearingen convinced me to check out the blues session he was hosting one night.  In fact, I haven't even picked up a pair of drumsticks in six months so therefore I was very rusty and as the bass player said I was slowing down here and there.  Then again I don't recall the songs that we played (Crossroads maybe but my Alzheimer's is showing and don't really know) but Charlie and I hit it off quite well, he gave me great praise.  The Graveyard Blues Band was pretty active during the 90's and Morgan put out an blues album that captures what made them great.  They were the blues but they had a bit of boogie to them and Morgan could sing like Johnny Winter at times.  As far as I know Morgan still plays here from time to time although Google comes up with not much to go on.

8.  Nervous Breakdown-Ducks Deluxe 1974   The toughest pub rock band to ever come out of that era, the Ducks would have members would go on other bands of note (Graham Parker and The Rumour, The Motors, Tyla's Gang, even Nick Lowe).  They were rock and roll through and through and I think it's Nick Garvey that does the vocals on this Eddie Cochran classic.

9.  Pull Me Under-Dream Theater 1992    Wes Borland had a exchange with Dream Theater fans on Twitter the other day, saying that DT never had anything good out and this comes from the dude that is part of Limp Bizkit, a band that never had a decent song whatsoever but the banter was in good fun.  There's a lot of DT fans out there and like Rush, they are so die hard that they will attack anybody does slams the band.  Myself I'm not a big DT fan but as I pointed to Wes on one exchange that their best album is Images And Words but everytime I write the tweet out I ended up having the title backwards.  After the making the damn mistake a third time, I said fuck it and deleted everything I sent to Wes.  This is their sole hit which got plenty of airplay on the radio but modern rock radio doesn't play this or anything from Dream Theater for that matter.  But they will of Limp Bizkit (WTF indeed).

10.  The Free Electric Band-Albert Hammond 1973   Hammond started out in The Family Dogg and then moved over to The Magic Lanterns and he had a whole different sound before striking out on his own and scored a major hit with It Never Rains In Southern California a song I never cared much for but I love this followup single to which Hammond gave everything up for Music and The Free Electric Band.   Sometimes I think that when I hear this song, it also feels like it's my anthem.

That's all for now. We will try to do better next month.

Ones that didn't make the cut.
Abergavenny-Shannon (Marty Wilde) 1969
Lessons-Rush 1975
Pieces Of The Puzzle-Johnny Law 1991
Backfield In Motion-Mel & Tim 1969
Tart With A Heart-Kimberley Rew 2000

Whatever Bob Lefsetz is listening to..................

PS, Lefsetz gives a tribute to Levon Helm on the latest blog.  Which makes us forgive him for today anyway.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

National Record Store Day 2012

Hate to disappoint y'all but I didn't make it to the Iowa City Record Collector or the Dubuque stores for National Record Store Day on Saturday.  It comes down to this, anytime I go to the record store it's Record Store Day for me and basically I wasn't that too impressed with the overpriced vinyl pieces that came out.    Cedar Rapids hasn't had a record store in here for the past 5 years.  Perhaps I'll pay Kurt a visit sometime soon when I hit Record Collector.

The original intent was to go to Madison for NRSD, but finding out it came on a weekend rather than a Tuesday, fighting the crowds for something overpriced wouldn't be much fun.   After all, I almost got ran over by a overzealous bike rider on State Street last Thursday.   Finding a bunch of dollar stuff at PawnAmerica was better than a 20 dollar album or 8 dollar single that I would probably play once and then file away.  But still, having vinyl or a cd is much better than a digital download anytime of day for me.

Instead of buying, I sold off a few of my vinyl and cds to Half Priced Books and got 35 bucks for my trouble.   I'm sure I paid more than 100 dollars for what I sold off but it was either that or donate than and get nothing in return.  Sunday I took a visit to see what inventory I had left up and came to find out that the KISS albums, The Velvet Revolver and Greg Brown vinyl pieces were not there anymore.  Somebody picked up The Stooges CD in the 2 dollar bins and for some reason the Pink Floyd Wall Outtakes is still up there for 5.99.  I'm very surprised that that's still up there.  In the coming weeks, I will be thinning a bit more of my collection in the dew room as well as CDs that I have no interest in anymore and a few other things and probably get less back than what I paid for.    I had aspirations of opening up my own store but since I won't be getting to that anytime soon, just as well get rid of things.  I figured I made a good buck or two from the finds at HP Books anyway.

It was my intention to start donating and selling off things before the Mad City Bargain Hunt happen but like a typical hoarder when I start sorting through, there are stuff that I hold on to in thinking I'm going to be playing them but over 10,000 cds it's impossible and so we go through the process of elimination.  The more I buy, the less time I have to listen to them all but the chase is better than the catch.  It's been that way since 1992 when the endless playlist began for me and then the pawnshop years a few years later made them much cheaper and easier to get to check out.  I wouldn't pay 16 bucks or more for half the stuff I found for 5 bucks or less.    It's also tougher for me to plan things and actually go through them, if that was the case, Madison would have taken place a month ago.  I donno, I think I do very well with what I find up in the pawnshops and HP Books here.

In short, National Record Store Day came and went and although I'm sure it was a success, I had mine last Thursday.  Maybe next year we can see about NRSD 2013 if we get that far down the line.  It's only National Record Store Day when I pay my record store buddies a visit......

Friday, April 20, 2012

RIP Levon Helm, Jonathan Frid, Greg Ham

The list keeps going.

Levon Helm passed away from throat cancer yesterday at age 71.  In terms of Americana, Levon Helm was the original voice of that, being the major voice and drummer of The Band.  Case in point: Robbie Robertson's recordings for Geffen,  had he used Levon Helm his albums would have been classic.

Helm had a second coming when he released the Dirt Farmer album when he signed on Vanguard a few years ago.  I have heard Electric Dirt and although Helm's vocals were much different, the fact that he even survived the first bout of throat cancer makes his Vanguard stuff all the much amazing.  But I recall his American Son album for MCA in 1981 and his S/T album for Capitol/MSS the next year were classic in their own way.  Both albums are hard to find but somebody out there loved the Capitol album to the point that they reissued it on their own and I came across it by accident at Moondog Music a few years ago.  He does a killer version of Summertime Blues which was a bonus track on that album.  At least EMI did give their blessings on this reissue, Universal is still sitting on the ABC/MCA albums that Levon did for them.  Maybe some day before we are all dead and gone they'll reissued American Son.  Raven reissued it for a time as well as Edsel UK but I don't think anybody is willing to pay 85 dollars for a used CD, no matter how good it was.

The sad fact that Levon never forgave Robbie Robertson for breaking up The Band and kept a grunge on the whole issue up till a couple weeks ago when Robertson visited Helm in the hospital and the hatchet was buried.  Bob Dylan gave a nice tribute on his website.  One thing remains clear, Levon Helm was a original one of a kind vocalist and musician, who could play drums and mandolin too.  Perhaps my favorite moment was when Levon appeared on SCTV back in the 80's and was part of a skit to which he played a couple tracks off his latest album back then.  Shout Factory has it on DVD.

Jonathan Frid, the vampire Barnabas Collins on the old Dark Shadows soap opera also passed away at age 87 of complications after suffering from a fall.

Dark Shadows was a soap opera that I sometimes hurried home from school to watch.  It was easier to do in Webster City, the school was next door and it took me about 3 minutes to run home to catch Dark Shadows, moving to Cedar Rapids in late 69 ended that for me but sometimes I would catch it when I was either sick or played sick from going to school.  Frid does make a appearance on the Tim Burton remake of Dark Shadows coming out next month.  If you can't get enough of him, he does have a website up and running.

Also Greg Ham, Men At Work's wonderful flute player was found dead in his home. He was 58

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dick Clark

Reading Bob Lefsetz hateful tirade on the passing of Dick Clark makes me wonder why the hell he continues to be the number one authority when it comes to rock and roll.  Clark's passing from a heart attack at age 82 ends the connection between me and the sixties once and for all.  To me it started with Where The Action Is, a show that came on once I got home from school.  And got the see the antics of Paul Revere & The Raiders.

Lefsetz is bitter since Dick Clark made it to the top of the American Dream!  To make money and be an influence.  Certainly with American Bandstand on Saturdays we got to see many a act.  Most notable was Sparks doing No More Mr Nice Guys to which Ron Mael went around swinging a bat and seeing the Earle Mankey ducking away.  It was a fun show and I have yet to see it surface on You Tube.  Of course during my high school years, Clark was more into the disco side of things.  Later on Clark would be infamous for starting up the American Musical Awards, a 1975 showcase to which those who hosted it got awards regardless.  Thus he unknowingly started the downward spiral of award shows and would figure into American Idol.  But I recall Clark and Ed McMahon hosting The Bloopers show which took the concept of Kermit Schafer's people making mistakes on the radio and TV and transforming it into a hit series.  Clark also figured into New Year's Rockin Eve and appeared on Futurerama's first episode.

Not everything Clark did was outstanding, that Atlantic album of Bloopers that he put out in 1986 paled in comparison to the original Kermit Schafer's MCA/Kapp albums of long ago and far away.  Casey Kasem kicked his ass on the oldies radio circuit.  American Top Forty was worth listening to.  But life goes on and everybody gets old.  And you can't take all the riches with you when you die, it's like cashing everything at the door to the great beyond.

In the end everybody dies.

RIP Dick Clark.  An icon of the times of growing up for myself.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Top Ten Of The Week-Prom Tunes For The Open Minded

Prom time here in the great Midwest Wasteland.  Not like I'm going to any of them. Too old and it cost too much for that.  Plus most of what I've seen have made the girls looks like bad hookers.  A long decline from the days of prom for me but then again I never went to any of my proms.  Big waste of time and never did get any dates.


Found out the Best Buy in Casa Grande is one of the 500 stores that have been targeted for being close and their last day is May 12th.  On my Arizona trip last year, I stopped in that store to pick up the Dream Theater album that came out.

Remember how we used to pay 12 to 15 dollars for those classic CD's and first generation ones that didn't sound so great?  A lot of them can now be bought for 5 dollars at your local Wally World.  The CR location had plenty of Rush and The Bee Gees 70s albums to which you can now get Main Course for 5 singles.   A bargain and better than the digital downloads that the majors seem to stick to the downloading fool for 10 to 12 dollars (something's wrong there)

Big mouth strikes again or in this case Ted Nugent who's into some hot water on his comments on Obama and if he gets elected ole Ted will either be in jail or dead.  Of course the comments sections are half and half pro Ted or liberals against Ted.  My take:  Terrible Ted hasn't made a decent album since State Of Shock, the dude is still trying to get into 16 year old panties while slamming away liberals and Obama and going out killing wildlife in the process.  Whatever Theodore Anthony Nugent has in mind is being a Michigan transplant cowboy preaching his survival of the fittest theological baloney is his first amendment right which seems to imply only him and you if you agree with him and if you don't, fuck you then.  Amazingly if the right wing thinks he's so great, how come nobody plays Ted Nugent songs on their campaign trail but rather John Mellencamp or Bruce Springsteen or Heart?  In the meantime Theodore Anthony, there's a good chance Obama will be back for a second term like it or not, the GOP simply haven't had much of an answer to The Black Man in The White House.  Bound and gag on that one dude.

Big mouth number 2: Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland."I don't feel it's my responsibility or my management's responsibility to evacuate the fans in the case of danger," Miss Nettles said in the deposition. "Do I care about their safety? Absolutely."   In the case of the tragic accident at the Indiana State Fair last year, Sugarland was ready to take the stage before a heavy gust of wind tore the stage up and collapsed upon a crowd killing seven.  Nothing more can be a career killer when a musician says such ridiculous things but then again this comes down to a he says, she says to which the lawyers suing say one thing and the band say another.  But in the case of bad weather my observation is that the venue should probably had either delayed the concert or rescheduled it for another time.  But somebody is wrong, who remains the question.

And for the first time in many years I decided to take some things up to Half Priced Books and get some kind of cash back since the Amazon sales have been slow lately.  Got 35 bucks back for my effort.  It was either that or donate them or let them gather more dust.

The Top Ten Songs Of The Week.

1.  Wall Of Pride-Omar And The Howlers 2002   A remake of their 1988 song and taken from the new Essential Omar And Howlers Collection.  Not a complete overview, Ruf Records couldn't get anything from the Columbia and Antones/Discovery albums.  Problem with the Wall Of Pride album was the usually reliable Terry Manning gave that album a poor mix and the drums sounding like cardboard boxes and a cheeseball dated keyboard sound too.  Omar Dykes recorded a new version and stripped it down to the basic swamp blues boogie which is much better than 1988 version.

2.  Just The Same Way-Journey  1979  A minor hit but a rare song to which Greg Rolie sang lead instead of Steve Perry who did the counter vocal on the chorus.  Next single was Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin and the rest is history.  Perry would give Journey the bigger charting hits, Rolie would eventually leave a couple albums later.

3.  Big Shot-Dr. John 2012  New Dr. John is a return to the New Orleans Voodoo funk that he was famous for in the late 60s and early 70s and is his best in 40 years.  That's saying something.  Credit Dan Auerbach for that.

4.  To Share Our Love-The Moody Blues 1969  Here ya go Tad.  A Moodies track for ya.

5.  Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You-Led Zeppelin 1969  Staying in the year of 69, we pick one of our favorite album cuts from Zeppelin.  They were on to something.

6.  Sheep-Pink Floyd 1977  Boy we're picking some heavyweights on this top ten.  At the Pawn America last week, we found a bunch of dollar C Ds that I never thought that I would find.  Found Animals and Wish You Were Here and both were in great shape and for a dollar too.  I figured whoever bought these in went out and bought the new reissues (in amazing digipak, BTW I hate digipaks but you already know that).  I tend to favor Animals over WYWH or The Wall simply that Animals never gets played on classic rock radio.

7.  Under Assistant West Coast Promo Man-The Rolling Stones 1965  B side to Satisfaction and one of the more fun songs that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards ever wrote.  In fact I don't think they ever top that one although Sweet Neo Con came somewhat close in the neighborhood.

8.  War Paint-Rush  1990  As much as people complained about Presto, their first for Atlantic, I thought it was a big improvement over the 1988 Hold Your Fire although Rush was still more into the keyboard side of things, they could still rock it out although the another bitch was that Rupert Hine tended to elbow himself into the recording singing backup on some of the songs.  Hine would return for Hold Your Fire before Peter Collins returned for Counterparts and Test For Echo.

9.  Rock Lobster-The B52's  1979  Silly stuff.  But fun.  But still silly.

10.  The Revenge Of Vera Gemini-Blue Oyster Cult 1976  The best use of Patti Smith.  This is off the Agents Of Fortune album which may have been their most democratic album.  Even Alan Lanier got to sing on two numbers but the dominant one was Albert Bouchard who sings on three numbers and two on the unreleased stuff that made the bonus cuts on the re reissue of Agents.  To which you can now buy for 5 dollars at Best Buy or Wally World take your pick.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Singles Going Steady 3

Here we go again folks.  More 45's found from various places.  Even in this day and age you can still find them in playable shape.  Unless they're Dave Clark Five and most of what I have seen, the grooves were wore off from being overplayed.

1.  Come On Over-Chilliwack (Sire SAA-718) (Goldfish GS 114 Canada)  1975   They had better success over in Canada then they did over here and the only top 40 they had was My Girl (Gone Gone Gone) in 1981.  They recorded for A & M, Mushroom and Millennium/RCA but when they were on Sire, they were at their most rocking.  Sadly this didn't chart but KUNI played this a couple times.  Ended up buying the S/T album that they had this song on.  I think it's the best cut on it.  Next album Rockbox didn't do much for me and I pretty much ignored them till My Girl came out.  Mike Flicker produced.

2.  It's Good News Week-Hedgehoppers Anonymous (Parrot PAR 9800) 1965  Featuring Johnathan King, this song was one of those bizarre singles that I heard back on AM radio and never really gotten into the irony of what he was saying but sarcasm runs supreme in King's music.  Found a nice 45 of this up in Madison the other day, despite having no record sleeve had little scratches on it.  B side Afraid Of Love has a nice Buddy Holly beat to it.  King would later form UK Records and signed up a certain art rock band called 10CC.

3.  Touch And Gone-Gary Wright (Warner Bros. WBS 8494) 1978  He came out of nowhere and scored big with Dream Weaver and Love Is Alive but later releases didn't do very well.  I was a big fan of Phantom Writer but the record bombed on the charts sad to say.  When this came out, radio didn't play it at all and it showed Wright going to a more MOR sound.  He would have a top forty hit with Really Wanna  Know You in 1981.

4.  Off And Running-Lesley Gore  (Mercury 72580) 1966  I grew up listening to some of her obscure singles, the ones we used to get in the 10 for a dollar package that Spartan Stores were famous for back then (or K Mart) and although we never had any of her big singles, we did have Young Love with a excellent b side of I Just Don't Know If I Can which is only available on a Bear Family comp and the out of print Mercury 2 CD set that came out in the 1990s.  Worth big bucks nowadays but by 1966, Gore's singles weren't selling like they used to.  Not that they were bad, actually this song is quite good, which was written by Toni Wine and Carol Bayer.  Jack Nitzche did the arrangements and Quincy Jones produced this.  I'll never understand why this failed to make it on the charts.  Another 45 found at Half Priced Books in Madison that was in like new shape despite no sleeve.

5.  Allentown Jail-The Lettermen (Capitol 4976)  1963  The other side Two Brothers was a poor attempt to create the folk sound that The Kingston Trio did for Tom Dooley, in fact you can call that song Tom Dooley part 2 since it starts out with a spoken piece.  Allentown Jail is the better side but The Lettermen were much better doing their vocal pop songs more than they did with folk. After this record bombed, they return to the pop sound of Where Or When.  A strange curio in the 45 archives.

6.   It Feels So Right-Elvis Presley (RCA Victor 47-8585)  1965  The movie years and most of what Elvis did for music was throwaway.  At times, Elvis could put out a rocker and this song was the end result although the B side Such An Easy Question may have been the A.  Hard to tell folks but this version hawks back to the rockabilly days of Scotty and Bill and DJ and the Jordanaires doing the backing vocals.  I don't even think I ever heard this song played on the radio, back then or today.  But another forty five found for 48 cents at HP Books made it clear that I had to check it out.   An underrated track, although Easy Question is one of lesser Otis Blackwell written songs.

7.  She's Just My Style-Gary Lewis & The Playboys (Liberty F-55846)  1965  Lewis seems to get a bad rap in the music department.  Yes, he was Jerry's son and he could act as goofy as his dad did but he did make a few fine singles and albums on Liberty.  Snuff Garrett produced them, and the secret weapon was Leon Russell arranging although Brother Leon pretty much doesn't talk bout those years.  It paid the bills and so be it.  May have been bubblegum but sometimes a good bubblegum song can beat anything that you hear on rock radio in these trying times.

8.  Shy Boy (Don't It Make You Feel Good) Bananarama (London 810 112 7) 1983  Really, Deep Sea Diving was a fairly good album from what I remembered, not that I have that album in my collection mind you but it seems oblivious that in the MTV era, this got plenty of airplay although top forty didn't pick up on them till Venus a few years later (the Stock Aikman, Waterman Production squad that also make a household name out of Rick Astley).  Cruel Summer was the other hit from Deep Sea Diving.  I think Dave Stewart married one of the Bananarama ladies a few years later.

9.  Arrested For Driving While Blind-ZZ Top (London   45-251)  1977  Tush here, La Grange there and don't get me started on Gimme All Your Lovin, classic rock radio has overkilled ZZ Top in more ways than one but they never would touch anything off Tejas with a Ten Foot Pole (as they would say a few years later).  Even today you don't hear this on classic rock radio (their loss and our gain) and this is a little fun boogie number that they are famous for today.  Found the 45 at Rock N Bach years ago and just bought it simply of the fact it was Z Z Top.

10.  Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way-Waylon Jennings (RCA Victor PB-10379) 1975  The other side was Bob Wills Is Still The King but country DJ's actually played this and the B side became a top 10 country hit for Waylon who was beginning to find his stride as the new country outlaw (as with Willie and Tompall).  In some ways this was the beginning of Waylon namechecking the country legends that he idolized and played.  Hank and Bob Wills?  Can't get no more country than that then.  Rock radio back in the 70s played this as a underground selection.  But in the mid 70's Waylon was far from the mainstream and liked it that way.   Alas, the glory years would end around 1985 and Waylon would drift over to MCA and then Epic for minor country hits but the 70's Waylon and Willie and the boys were outlaw country.  10 years removed from the world but Waylon lives on in music.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Mad City Expierence

Some things to talk about.

The big non news this week is Axl Rose declining being inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame.  Basically people are up in a uproar over that.  My thought is that Axl can do what he wants whatever he does and the world will still be around tomorrow.

I'm not a Guns & Roses fan, if I died and gone to hell Sweet Child O Mine would be the leadoff track, hated that song then, hate it now but their first album had their moments and Use Your Illusion albums   They rocked hard but they never appealed to me so I don't comment on them that much.  Spaghetti Incident? showed Axl and company their favorite music bands too.  But he and Slash has always been a oil and water combo and it blew up and Axl wants nothing to do with Slash.  Fair enough.  The Chinese Democracy is a whole different GnR and basically it's the new version that has been around for a lot longer than the original classic lineup.  At least you don't hear Izzy or Duff complain about GnR as much as druggie Stephen Adler does every day.  I'm sure Slash and the rest will show up because they want to.  And Axl can stay home if he wants, or take his band out and do the things he's been doing the last decade or so.

Now Madison, the springtime bargain hunt.  Spur of the moment, wake up at 6 AM, can't get back to bed and so it was decided to jump in the car and ride on to the Wisconsin capital two and half hours away.  There are days to which I have good times up there and there's others that maybe finding anything wasn't worth the effort or trouble getting there.  Dealing with each and every red light.  Dealing with dumbfuck drivers who cut off getting off the exit back home.  And then being pissed off to the point that taking the Beltway and flipping everybody off that tries to speed up.  Or the dumbass biker that almost hit me while I had the fucking walk signal to cross the street.  Or seeing the liquor store dude run out a drunk at the liquor store.  Or hearing some tone deaf kid mess up Loving Cup by The Rolling Stones to which you can still hear him two blocks away.

More road construction on Washington Street leading out to the interstate again.  Seems like they're always doing some kind of road construction.  So why do I even do this?

Dollar CDs at Pawn America!

Pink Floyd-Animals
Pink Floyd-Wish You Were Here
Rush-Presto (new remaster)
Blues Traveler
Kristy McCall-Electric Landlady
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Tom Waits-Frank's Wild Years
Sherbs-The Skill
Justin Currie-What Love Is For

I could have picked up a couple more, but really didn't like Joni Mitchell's Blue when I first heard it.  Nevertheless it took me about 2 and half hours to sort through and see what else I could find and I'm sure I missed a few others but I'm certain I'll be back to pick them up if they're still around.  Some guy dropped off a bunch of Beatles CDs and the two Pink Floyd CDs that lead off the list and both of those cds are in like new shape.

Half Priced books stuff:
Sun Ra-Purple Night
Van Halen-For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
Chad & Jeremy-Painted Dayglow Smile
Kimberley Rew-Tunnel Into Summer

Mad City Music Exchange Findings:
Kraftwerk-Autobaun (CD)
Steven Fromholz-A Rumor In My Own Time (LP)
Pursuit Of Happiness-Love Junk (LP)

Orion The Hunter-(LP from Goodwill)
Rolling Stones-Out Of Our Heads (CD from The Exclusive Company)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Top Ten Of The Week-Need More Cowbell

Hi Kids

Time for another installment of the Top Ten Of The Week.  Plenty to choose from since I took my discman to work and started using that.  It has G protection which means I can put it in my pocket and go do my job while listening to some tunes.  Good or Bad, rock or blues or even a bit of faux paus.  Whatever that means, just trying to be cute, which I'm not.  But first.....

Ronnie Montrose ended up taking his own life rather to continue to be tortured by cancer.  Regardless it's a shame and tragedy to take that way out but then again when one is in so much pain perhaps that's the only way out.  Either way Ronnie is still missed.

The new Dr John album Locked Down is his best since Gumbo and a return to the voodoo style of music that he did with Gris-Gris although I wasn't much a big fan of that album.  Dan Auerbach, the Black Keys extraordinaire dude gives a great production and Dr. John's backing band gives him that tight New Orleans Voodoo flair that has been missing over the past four decades.  Certainly worth picking up, even though it's in those fucked up digipacks that everybody seems to want nowadays.

With Sonic on 33rd closed down, and sold off, it's doubtful that Sonic will ever return to this area.  But I guess Kum N Go have acquired the property and will turn it into another convenience store.  Just what we need right, especially when there's a Kum n Go on Kirkwood Blvd and another one on First Avenue getting ready to open.  But then again, I'm hoping they will have a kitchen area like the new stores.  Their pizza is very good and better than Casey's in terms of on the go pizza.

Jim Marshall, the dude who pioneered those Marshall Amps passed away last week at age 88.  Heaven must be needing some Marshall stacks up there right?  Speaking of which, slappa of the bass and more cowbell is needed.  The Top Ten Awaits.

1.  (Don't Fear) The Reaper-Blue Oyster Cult 1976  Overplayed yes and more cowbell too but it sounded pretty good on my piece of shit purple car's speakers on the way to work.  Normally the back speakers don't work unless the temps warm up.  The 94 Corsica has lived a nice long life but it's falling apart due to rust and bad tires and the GD thing leaks gas when I park it after using it.  Eventually I'm going to get a new car or something more recent than two decades ago.

2.  Ain't Got No Money-Bob Seger 1978   Like his label buddy Steve Miller, Seger hung around for Capitol for many years (except for a two album liaison with Reprise/Palladium which gave us Smoking OPs, Back In 72 and Seven, oops he record seven for them, too lazy to change it moving on...) and then hit the big time with Live Bullet and gave us Night Moves and Stranger In Town, both 8 track classics in my high school years.  A cover version of Frankie Miller, this song borrows too much from The Fire Down Below but since I got Stranger In Town before Night Moves, this was the go to song.  His Springsteen type of stuff got him classic rock status, but the early years showcased him as a hard edged Detroit rocker that influenced Kid Rock.  Found a scratchy copy of this album on CD at the Springville Buy Sell Trade Store that just opened up a week ago.

3.  Something Better-Velvet Elvis 1988   A band from Kentucky that made a album for Enigma and got Mitch Easter to produce it.  They also boasted a petite female drummer too (Sherri McGee) and lead singer Dan Trisko sounded a lot like Tom Petty.   Something that was found for 2 bucks in the Throwaway bin at Half Priced Books the other day.  Most of the first side rocks pretty good, second side not much so but not to the point of falling asleep.

4.  Honey, I Need-The Pretty Things 1965  In all honesty the only time I paid much attention to them was when they put out Savage Eye on Swan Song but back in the old days, The Pretty Things gave The Rolling Stones a run in the slimy world of British R and B and they loved Bo Diddley so much that they took their name from one of his songs (Guess which one?).  Fontana/Polygram put out a 2 CD set back in the 90s that is deleted but Shout Factory cherry picked some of the sides for a Very Best Of that's not too bad, but borrows two many songs from Silk Torpedo and nothing from Savage Eye.  Between the years, they tried to become something like Pink Floyd did with concept albums but gave it up by the time they got around to Freeway Madness in 73.

5.  Soul Stomp-Earl Van Dyke And The Soul Brothers 1965  You may not know the name but you have heard him play.  If you think otherwise any Motown song you hear back in those days, Earl Van Dyke was leading the band.  Barry Gordy kept a tight leash on him, only letting him record two albums and handful of singles for Soul (part of the Motown house of labels).  In terms of soul instrumentals, Van Dyke and The Funk Brothers gave Booker T and The MG's a run for the money and this song actually tromps them.  Hip O Select recently gave Earl Van Dyke his due with a very generous 2 CD set of everything Van Dyke played under his own name (and James Jamerson too, Jamerson best bass player ever).  Worth seeking out just for disc one but it's pricey.  You're better off with the 20th Century Masters of The Funk Brothers that came out 10 years ago on the heels of the Standing In The Shadows Of Motown movie.

6.  Daddy I Know-Dr West's Medicine Show And Junk Band (Norman Greenbaum)  1967  Better known for The Eggplant That Ate Chicago, Dr. West Band is a jug band that was way out there.  Sundazed compiled a overview album of this band (now out of print and overpriced to not sell) but some of the highlights were captured on Spirit In The Sky: The Best Of Norman Greenbaum.  Like this little ditty.

7.  Red Roses For  A Blue Lady-Bert Kaempfert 1964  Easy listening classic to which probably has no basis to being here on the Top Ten but I listen to everything.  Bert produced some demos for the Beatles on the failed Decca Recordings but he was better known for putting out easy swinging music such as Red Roses.  Actually this song the album sounded quite well for me at work while trying to clear up a paper rip inside a piece of shit refinished printers that our employers bought on the cheap.  Which is probably why muzak works better than KDAT, you don't hear them playing crap like Sheryl Crow or Hey Soul Sister or Broken Wings every other hour.  More Bert, less Sheryl.

8.  Move Over-Steppenwolf 1969  Back then when Steppenwolf released a 45, I had to run up to the Webster City Woolworth's to get it although I think there was a hardware store that sold me the forty five of this song.  Jerry Edmonton, very underrated drummer.

9.  When It Comes To You-John Anderson 1992  From Seminole Wind to which I think I gave a title track a shout out when Anderson came to the Linn County Fair of last year.  Features Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits on guitar and who wrote the song.

10.  Round And Round-Edgar Winter Group 1972  Bob Dorr does it again.  He played my requests over the weekend, one was Leaving Here which was the stereo version to my shock and awe and the second was this forgotten forty five off They Only Come Out At Night.  Actually that album had another failed single with Hanging Around as well but then again classic rock radio has a stilted memory.  They won't play that song nor Round And Round but they have been from time to time play the overplayed Frankenstein and Free Ride to which the 45 version varied differently from the album cut.  Too damn bad Sony Music has never put that version out on CD nor updated They Only Come Out At Night with bonus tracks either.  Nevertheless, Backtracks, Saturday Night on Iowa Public Radio is the place to tune in when you want to hear how FM radio was back in the 70s.  To which you can only dream about it now and not the rehashed overplayed garbage that used to mean something.

In other words....More Cowbell man.

 Pawnshop Cds that was found this week:

Bush-Razorblade Suitcase
Grateful Dead-Bear's Choice (history of Volume 1)
Butch Walker-Left Of Self Centered
Institute-Distort Yourself
Dr. John-Locked Down (new)
Blue Oyster Cult-Agents Of Fortune (expanded, 4.99 at Best Buy)
Gov't Mule-Deja Voodoo
Wynton Marsalis/Eric Clapton-Play The Blues

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Crabb Bits: Jimmy Iovine Knows It All, Another Allegiant Fee

I got to read the Rolling Stone interview with Jimmy Iovine, the Interscope head huncho and Producer Extraordinaire and basically it's a hoot.  But here's some of my thoughts on what he said.

He may think that Bruce Springsteen's Darkness On The Edge Of Town and Born To Run are awesome but I have never liked the mix that he employs on Darkness, it's too murky and too compressed and he might have been deaf when he recorded it back then.  Make no mistake, he's done wonders for the likes of Stevie Nicks and Patti Smith.

Tom Petty on the other hand, Iovine took that record over the top and for all intent purposes it was classic but I always liked You're Gonna Get It more.  Perhaps it was that it was the first Tom Petty album I ever got and on 8 track too, Listen To Her Heart or I Need To Know or When The Time Comes are first rate rockers.  Damn The Torpedoes is overplayed with Refugee and Don't Do Me Like That and Here Comes My Girl, but the rest of side 1 rocks pretty damn hard and my favorite track is  What Are You Doing In My Life.  While Iovine complains of no hits on Hard Promises, he must have forgotten about The Waiting which made top ten.  He does a point with Long After Dark about being the lesser of the three TP that he produced.  But then again Iovine didn't do Graham Parker any favors with the lackluster Up Escalator although he did pair Graham up with Bruce Springsteen on the Endless Night.

Iovine brings up a point that 90 percent of albums made in this lifetime should have never been made. And that the future of music is dead or that there's no future Bruce or Tom Petty on the horizon.  And that the last U2 shouldn't have been made since it wasn't finished.  Ya have to give the man credit for telling the truth and laying it on the line but back in 75 you didn't cross Bruce Springsteen since he didn't give a fuck.  Made music his way and Jimmy recorded it his way.  And of course you knew of the end result.

Rock on Jimmy.

Other Things:  Allegiant Airlanes has announced that they will start charging people for carry on luggage should you want to stow something overhead.  They will not charge you if you put things under the seat.  For the last 4 years, the AZ trips I have used Allegiant to get from here to Mesa or Las Vegas and they have not disappointed me.  But lately they have actually charging fees for each every little things that the big wigs can think of.  Check this out: 

   Allegiant President Andrew Levy announced the new fee in an e-mail to employees, saying the changes are part of “an ongoing effort to develop an innovative, new approach to travel.”

An innovative way to  to develop a new approach to travel by charging more fees?!?  Oh for Fuck's sake people.  Mr. Levy, you have disappointed me in this effort to add more fees in thinking buying a cheap plane ticket thinking we are getting a bargain while you fee'ing us to death doesn't make cost effective sense.  I suppose if I did Arizona again it would be Allegiant BUT,  in this day and age of 4 dollar gallon gas,  and various bills and other things in life we have to contend with that I do not forsee me going out to the desert this year.  I simply cannot afford that and taking 10 dollars for changing seats, another 20 for online booking, and 2 dollars for a GD 12 OZ Pepsi makes flying even more of a pain in the ass in terms of getting there.   I guess I have to live my past memories of being in the desert and wishing I can stop at a Hastings or Zia's to find more tunes.  I'll have to dream about it.

The public is tired of all these fees Allegiant, just raise the fucking price of plane ticket just like the rest of the monopoly owned airlanes and just give us back free stuff, like overhead storage or changing seats.  Southwest is too much of a pussy to ever bring their planes to our airport.

Finally, I switched over to the new Blogspot and it's going take a while to get used to.  But I can look up the ratings of past blogs and see how well they have performed.  I'm not big on change, I like things the way that they are but eventually, I'll warm up to the new Blogspot.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Top Ten Of The Week-August In April

Feels like we went into Summer way things have been going around here.  85 on Saturday in Iowa?  Global warming baby!

Getting busy at work so haven't had much time to listen to tunes but we'll do our best to entertain you with 10 more shots to the dome.

1.  Life's Been Good-Joe Walsh 1978  I have a mansion forget the price, ain't never been there they tell me it's nice.  My brother hates this song with good reason, they play all the time on classic rock radio, like that's the only thing Joe Walsh ever recorded.  So why did I add this overplayed classic to the top ten?  Sounded like a nice track to lead off another top ten.  You're welcome.

2.  Pendulum-Lowen & Navarro 1995  Mark Lowen lost his battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease on March 23. He was 60.  Lowen and Navarro was one of the finer folk rock acts that came out in the 90s and all their Mercury albums have some classic tracks to them.  Even back then on this title track they were singing about the dark side of things and death but keeping a positive spin on things.  Didn't know much about them till I picked up some of their cds at the pawnshop for 3 dollars and then became a fan afterwards.

3.  I Wouldn't Give You Up-Ecstasy, Passion & Pain 1974  I was going to do a top ten by picking certain tracks off a forgotten Greatest Hits album called Heavy Hits which was the That's What I Call Music of that era.  Some great R and B tracks, couple great rock and roll number and then there's Once You Understand by Think, one of the most Godawful tracks of the 70s.  This got some airplay on the Chicago radio stations but don't think KCRG or KLWW ever played this.  Pretty good soul song with that famous MFSB backing band which features Earl Young on drums, or that's how it sounds to me.  Alas, it was released not on Philadelphia International nor Atlantic but Roulette Records which was coming to an end of a era due to some shady folks running that label.

4. Sour Times-Portishead 1994  Got this at the Springville Junk Shop (CDs for 2 dollars) and I didn't check them very well, this is scratched beyond repair but plays like new.  A MTV buzz bin classic, Portishead isn't for everybody but it does set the mood quite well for me.

5.  The Pusher-Nina Simone 1971 But it came out in 1974 on It Is Finished and Nina Simone covers the old Steppenwolf classic with a fire and brimstone.  GD the pusherman indeed.  Sometimes I think this version trumps Steppenwolf but then again Nina Simone was a original who dictated by her own rules.  She would move on to CTI for one album and then Elektra 15 years later but by then her voice was shot.  She could do anything, Tin Pin Alley, rock, blues, jazz, torch ballads even Hall and Oates.

6.  Do The Do-Howlin Wolf 1971   I was reading through the reviews at Amazon between the difference between the London Howlin Wolf Sessions and the infamous and reissued This Is Howlin Wolf's New Album, He Doesn't Like It and basically Chester Burnett aka H.Wolf hated the latter and with good reason.  What makes The London Sessions classic was that he had Eric Clapton playing guitar and having the Rolling Stones rhythm section Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts play on this.  Whereas This Is Howlin Wolf's Hated Album had a bad guitar player who sounds as if he just got himself a new wah wah petal and the rhythm section a bad version of Rotary Connection.  Marshall Chess didn't do Howlin Wolf any favors at that time even though Wolf was coming to an end of his music career.  Get On Down Records reissued the bad album last year and this year reissued Message To The Young, which also didn't garner good reviews either but it is in print for those who are interested to see a label try new ideas on their old bluesman and ended up with disastrous results.  For further disasters, Muddy Waters Electric Mud!

7.  Somebody Put Something In My Drink-Ramones 1986  Losing themselves in a bad Jean Beanvoir mix, Animal Boy was an album that Johnny Ramone didn't like, good songs, bad recording and he's got a point.  Perhaps getting the Plasmatics mohawk haired black bass player to produce would translate into better record sales.  Somebody thought  wrong on that.

8.  Wild East-Ian Hunter 1979  With Mick Ronson helping out, Ian Hunter still continued to make great albums and this track comes from his Chrysalis debut You're Never Alone With a Schizophrenic.  He also borrowed a few of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band as his band.  If you can afford it, buy the 30th Anniversary Edition   which gives you a second cd of live performances of his 1979 tour.  Martin Briley (Salt In My Tears) and Eric Parker (later of John Hall Band) was his rhythm section, which was also featured on the 1980 Welcome To The Club 2 record live double.

9.  Wabash Cannon Ball-Roy Acuff 1951  This is country music folks.  Whatever is on KHAK isn't.  Got it?  Class dismissed.

10.  Tell Mama-Savoy Brown 1988  In music history, it's hard to believe that Kim Simmons outlasted Foghat although Roger Earl has kept that band going after the untimely death of Lonesome Dave in 2000 and Rod Price 5 years later, but Kim Simmons has been the one remaining original member left after all these years.  He even recorded a new album a few months ago but Savoy Brown has more blues based than the boogie sonics of Foghat.   This was a top forty hit in 1971 but 16 years down the road, Simmons reconnected with Dave Walker and they put out 2 albums on GNP Crescendo in the late 80s.  Walker has always been my favorite of all Savoy Brown vocalists but on Make Me Sweat, he even covers a Chris Youlden song. The album is a fun boogie romp although some of side 2, the last couple songs are a bad attempt to sell themselves as pop rock.  But hey I found the vinyl album for a dollar and for a latter day Savoy Brown, it'll got me rockin and rolling, even on the remakes.  But the reunion wouldn't last too long, Walker would leave in 1989  and Simmons since then has relied on his name and good sidemen to keep it going.  And you can't blame him for that.

Three months after this posting, temps got up to 100 degrees on July 6, 2012.  And I noticed this blog has been getting more views than the latest top ten. And so it goes.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Critical Aspiration

It seems to me when I do a blog spot of top ten songs or albums of note, I don't get much comment in terms of praising certain bands or music but when I end up making a casual observation about something subpar, the inbox gets flooded up with counterpoint that I missed the point.  Mention that Carrie Underwood is a great singer and the twitter praises is there but if I call her Big Mouth then the nation comes back en masses and saying that I don't know shit, your blog suck and whatever comes to mind.

Last week's top ten featured me throwing a few observations about a certain band and I got back a comment saying that I missed the point and so on and that you can't rewrite music history and music will live on even after the critic and his blogs is long gone since hardly anybody reads them.  In a perfect world, every album would be a classic A plus and there would be no crap on the radio but sadly that's not the way of the world operates.

Basically it's not my job to rewrite music history but rather to rediscover things that I missed over the years and got the chance to hear it from the pawnshop cd's and albums that I have found over the years.  Music has been around for over 100 years in recorded format and even somethings from the beginning probably suck too.  Don't ask me what they are for I have yet to hear them.

Even the classic rock era has had some stinkers along the way and there are some things I enjoy listening to that critics can't stand and vice versa.  Today's critics have no use for Foghat or The Godz or Nazareth.  I have no use for Kid A,  Jessie J, Limp Bizkit and Sheryl Crow and while it would be easier to slam the hell out of each and every one that has made a poopy platter.   I have listen to a few too many shit discs and to this day King Of Kings is pure crap, or Train's Save Me San Francisco is just as worse hearing KDAT play Hey Soul Sister day by bay.  Or Sheryl Crow's First Cut Is The Deepest.  I'm sure I can gather big ratings by slamming crappy music and get bigger ratings and more hate comments to boot but like the first time I did the Top Ten is to point out of the feeling I was getting when I put a song on the top ten.

And of course Pure Prairie League was the first song of last week and I figured it would be a good lead track with Two Lane Highway, their top 40 hit from 1975.  The comment at hand figured that I hated the group and figured that I would slam them for their later material and there lies the rub.  The first PPL albums are classic and remain a good listen, Bustin Out the better of the three.  If I didn't like PPL, Two Lane Highway wouldn't be on the list, I played it many times on 45 and finally getting the album all these years reminded me they were good.  Even in 1980 when I'm Almost Ready came out, it did interest me to buy the album Firin' Up and to my dismay I found it too MOR and too mellow for me to keep it in my collection.  But Rolling Stone Review didn't take too kindly to them in the first edition judging by the two stars that most of the albums got, and All Music followed the same two star rating for anything after Two Lane Highway although Firin Up got two and half stars.  Robert Christgau hated them, threw them in the Meltdown section and never looked back.  But then again Christgau has never been much into country harmonies of PPL or The Eagles or Poco.  In some way PPL needs a complete best of overview that has both the RCA and Casablanca years and I'm sure somebody out there could compile a decent overview.  Till then you have Bustin Out and the uneven best ofs that RCA and Mercury Nashville has out and you will have to make do, unless you find the out of print S/T or Two Lane Highway under five bucks, on CD or LP.

Ever since the corporate world hacks bought out the labels from music loving heads of labels, the bean counters do not preach good music anymore, it's hits NOW or you're off the label.  It's not a fun time for the music lover to go find new music to listen to, most if not all new albums of this past century aren't that memorable and enough for the masses for forget Pink Floyd or Led Zep or The Beatles or Elvis, no matter how much Kid A has saved your Pitchfork critic's life, they might like it or put it in their top of the century but for the aging baby boomers, it does nothing.

To be a critic is that I pay for the music that I listen to or put on the top ten and I think if it's a waste of money then it's my right to denounce it, after all that's an hour of your life you won't get back or the 10 bucks you paid for the cd (or less or more).  It's would be easier just to post a song and say it sucks without reason and then move on to another suck song.  To which The Top Ten Of The Week is supposed to promote the songs that I enjoy listening while making a casual observation of how later stuff was snoozers and yes Firin' Up I actually fell asleep on the second side of the LP.  Perhaps I should rephase it by calling a great classic album to fall asleep too, would that work?  Probably not but at least I'll be getting comments worth posting and arguing about instead of the porn spam that seems to grown in numbers.

It's kinda like of that old Starclub review that I did a few years ago on Amazon to which 1 out of 5 readers thought it didn't help them in buying it. First song started out great, the second song was good and the rest just didn't do anything for me and most of the songs  I just fastforward it to the next.  There's a reason why it went to the dollar bins or penny section at Amazon.Com, if it was a classic album it would be held in a higher regard.  But the majority of folk out there thought it sucked to their ears too.  Or the infamous King Of Kings cd that Geffen issued in 1993 thereabouts.  It was awful, a waste of time and I couldn't hear anything that moved me to play it again.  And the kiss of death for a cd is when I start fastforwarding after the second song. I recall buying Pariah's To Mock A Killingbird, a album so bad, that after the third song, I went to the Salvation Army and stuck it in the cd bins and left the place.   Good music is timeless but bad music is a headache and a lesson learned not to buy crap music.  And the older I get the less time I have for bad music. Time is the most important part of your life and mine.  So much music and so little time even when you go past fifty that you have less time to waste on crap music.

And good music is in the mind and ears of the beholder.  Dark Side Of The Moon is a classic album for the mass appeal but for myself I have no use for it, nor Kid A by Radiohead.  After all classic and modern rock plays Dark Side on a regular basis.  What may be classic to me may not to you with all the obscure stuff that I find in the dollar bins.  Had I never opened up my mind and ears to all the music that i was missing twenty years ago I would have never discovered Blue Rodeo or Blue Mountain or Peter Himmelman or Dash Rip Rock.  I would have just stuck my head in the sand and played only the albums that I grew up listening to in high school.

So, if I comment on a song and say that later stuff from a certain band was a snoozer, it's a matter of opinion and the world will be here tomorrow even after saying such stuff.  Vince Gill isn't losing sleep over that.

Unless it was him incognito....