Thursday, May 31, 2012

End Of Month Thoughts Of May

For the first time all month we finally got some rain.  A nice gentle rain that made everything green again, not a monsoon that went goes into the basement.  But I'm still not a fan of rain. 2008 changed all that.

Going past the old place, somebody chopped down the iris that was planted last year.  I'm hoping that maybe somebody liked them enough to take home but I'm sure it was the lawn mowing dude that went wild on the weed wacker that done them in.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Top Ten Of The Week-Get Down And Shake That Thing

Here at Crabb Radio and Top Ten's Are Us there is no shortage of music to speak of.  We have ten slots to fill and somedays it's hard to compile ten and somedaze we have more suggestions than we can fill in ten slots. But with the Davenport bargain hunts plus Half Priced Books 20 percent off and Bruce having tons of CDs at the pawnshop we may have overdone the buying.  Oh well such is life and it keeps me running.  And occupied.  I'm sure I'll be leaving a few off once again and if I do, they may have to wait till next week till we do it all over again.

And again.

And again.

1.  Everything The Same (Ain't Nothing Changed)-Billy Swan 1975   There was more to Billy Swan than I Can Help, the one hit that keeps him in people's memory.  He wrote Lover Please, the last big hit for Clyde McPlatter, The King covered I Can Help and Swan was a highly sought after session player.  He recorded for Monument, had Chip Young produced his hits and had a great Memphis/Nashville collection of players backing him up.  The followup single to I Can Help, I'm Her Fool flopped but my dad loved that single enough to wear two copies of that record out but it still didn't make any best of collection.  Everything The Same, Swan repeated the song format that made I Can Help a hit and although it charted okay on the country chart (#17) but it didn't make out of the top 90, stalling at a puzzlingly 91 on the Billboard rock chart.  No accounting for people's taste but back in the mid 70s a lotta good songs didn't make high on the chart.  Bizarre fact: I'm Her Fool failed to make the country chart but peaked at number 53 on the rock chart.  And still didn't make Billy Swan's Best.

2.  Chicago Line-John Mayall's Bluebreakers 1988  The big news of the weekend was me finally finding a copy of this album that has been out of print for many years for reasons beyond me.  I bought the CD when it came out since 99 plus played it one night and it was the comeback album for Mayall.  Tony Carey produced it, the guy that gave us Fine Fine Day and once played in Rainbow but perhaps Mayall wasn't too crazy of the production or recording and just jettisoned the album into out of print history.  Making a trip to Ragged Records I finally found the CD but at 25 dollars which still is a bargain if you think about it (for more reference see last blog).  The CD version is bit more boogie than blues and it was on You Tube but here's a more jazzier and blues version taken from a recent show.

3.  Down With The Bass-fIREHOSE 1991  They were The Minutemen till a fatal van accident claimed the life of D.Boon until a fan Ed Crawford convinced Mike Watt to give it another try.  They recorded two albums for Columbia before disbanding in 1994 and recently Sony Music reissued both Columbia albums and other assorted tracks for a 2 CD set.  A bit more mainstream and tailor ready for the alternative stations that were alternative and not Metallica Alternative like Alt radio is now.  One of a few promo cd's that was found in the HP Books bin during the 20 percent off sale.  Not bragging since my wallet took a big hit of all these bargains that were found, wasn't the HP Books or Pawnshop stuff, but rather paying 6 dollars for The Who Call Me Lightning and Six dollars for The Sports 1980 And Suddenly album.  But I still had a great time sorting through the goodies to find what I wanted.

4.  Sausalito Is The Place To Go-The Ohio Express 1969  Not the same band that gave us Yummy Yummy Yummy but rather Graham Gouldman and Hotlegs playing as The Ohio Express. Another interesting 45 that I came across at HP Books that didn't cost me two cheeseburgers and a Coke to get.  Gouldman and company would later have a hit with Neanderthal Man the next year for Capitol and somewhere down the line the band renamed themselves 10cc.

5.   I Am A Predator-Ted Nugent 1981  Ted being Mr. Funnyman again and actually I enjoy this song quite a bit.  It does beat Girl Scout Cookies in terms of being silly without being insulting.  From the Epic final Intensities In Ten Cities to which Ted debuts 10 new songs for concert approval.  I don't even think the recorded charted that high (Number 51, his poorest Epic showing) but for a throwaway album, he's done much worse.  Charlie Huhn, who had a eerie soundalike for Derek St Holmes would leave to join Humble Pie for a few and now resides in Foghat.  Side note:  Ted's Epic bandmates of Derek St Holmes and Rob Grange are now playing in his band once again (but without Cliff Davies who committed suicide in 2008) and is slated to play at Tama/Toledo Casino next month.  Might be worth going to but bring earplugs or you'll be deaf like Wackmaster Teddy is.   Still plays a mean guitar, just don't  talk politics with him.

6. What I'd Say (1 + 2)-Jerry Lee Lewis 1964  From what might be the first real punk album and probably the best overall live album ever recorded.  Of course you have heard of the legend of Jerry Lee, who had two giant hits for Sun and then married his 13 year old cousin which really sent his career down the loo.  But he kept plugging away, still making great music to which the public refused to hear.  And moved over to Smash Records for a country career that gave him a second chance.  But this album Jerry Lee Lewis with The Nashville Teens Live At The Star Club in Hamburg was history in the making.  And it scared everybody off who heard this, I'm sure Shelby Singleton Jr gave a big HELL NO on this.  This was intense, Jerry Lee was on fire and the Nashville Teens were pissed off that they played most of the Star Club dates without Mr. Lewis' help.   In my time of buying music and 45 years of it, this live document remains the most intense and brutal live performance ever recorded and does give a good argument from Gibby Hayes that Jerry Lee is the devil on Jesus Built My Hot Rod.  It would take almost 30 years for any US label to release this stateside and of course that came from Rhino Records in 1992 although Bear Family would issue it via import and with a bonus track.   Play that thing right Boy, he yells at a Nashville Teen and it's hard to tell who he was barking at, guitarist, drummer, maybe all of them.  At times the playing is so over the top that the drummer can't keep up so he bashes away at the cymbals while Jerry Lee yells at the audience YOU BETTER GET ON YOUR KNEES  AND SHAKE THAT THING as if this was his final stab at being the king of rock and roll and for one night, Jerry Lee was The King.  Elvis never even came close to outdo Jerry Lee on this live outing and it even makes The Stooges and The Who look polished and disciplined.  This is the kind of music that your parents warned you about and it's not pretty. 

It's what they call rock and roll.

7.  Sweet Leaf-Widespread Panic 2004  A cover of Black Sabbath's lead off from Master Of Reality it shows the versatile ways of this jam band who made a few live albums on Sanctuary back in the early 00's.  I think I like their metal reworkings rather than the James Brown  cover off Jackassolantern which a live covers album.  Cold Sweat goes on too long and 16 minutes of Ball Of Confusion with Dirty Dozen Brass Band is jamnombics gone haywire but on the other side, their 5 minute tribute to BOC's Godzilla is actually too short.

8.  Don Henley Must Die-Mojo Nixon 1989   He was a MTV icon with Skid Roper but on this effort and the album Otis, Nixon put together a hell of a lineup: Country Dick Montana on drums, Dash Rip Rock's Bill Davis and Eric Ambel on guitar and X's John Doe on bass, got the late Jim Dickerson to produce it and named the album after Otis Redding so to speak.  This got some airplay and though it was tongue in cheek, Don Henley wasn't impressed.  With Bill and Roscoe trading Hotel California licks, Mojo tells them to quit playing that crap, you're outta the band gives me a chuckle when I hear it.  Against Mojo's wishes The Eagles did reunite for a tour and album and so did the Police come to think of it.  IRS records reissued Otis for a time in the 90s but now has fallen out of print.  For the rest of them Roscoe Ambel has been a sought after producer and plays in The Yayhoos and sometimes Steve Earle's band, John Doe went back to X, Country Dick Montana died around 1996 playing for the Beat Farmers and Bill Davis still leads Dash Rip Rock.


9.  Walking By Myself-Jimmy Rogers 1956   He wasn't that well known as a artist for Chess Records but he was more famous for being sideman to Muddy Waters but  I think this was his best known Chess song.  Back in the old daze of cd collecting I made a habit to seek out Chess reissues on CD (at first they appeared on albums in the 1980s for Sugar Hill and later MCA when they purchased the Chess masters from Sugar Hill, not the Sugar Hill Records of bluegrass fame but the Sugar Hill Records ran by Sylvia Robinson) and never did pick up Chicago Bound till I found it at the pawnshop. Chess Blues of the 50s actually were considered more rock at times and while the American kids preferred something more sweeter and pop, the UK kids started picking up on the Chess Blues and forming their own bands.  Rogers would continue to record for another 40 years before passing away, his last album was on Atlantic and one song featuring Robert Plant and Jimmy Page.

10.   In A Dream-Norah Jones 2012  She's been around for 10 years now, Don't Know Why continues to get airplay on soft rock but there's more to Norah than just that jazz lite number. The past year she played piano on Ryan Adams' comeback album Ashes And Fire and her new album shows her working with Brian Burton aka Danger Mouse on a new album that left me cold when I first heard it but now really warmed up to it Little Broken Hearts to which she reinvents herself in making a sound somewhat like Portishead. So far the album hasn't sold very well but in my opinion this may be her best record to date.  And if she sells ten more copies of Little Broken Hearts then I'll take credit for suggesting this may be one of the best records of 2012.  But at this point, anything is better than Don't Know Why since that song has been killed by the radio.  And while nobody was paying attention she did release a new album by her side project The Little Willies too.  She's been a busy little girl.

Bubbling under:

Where Have All The Good Times Gone-Van Halen 1981
I Wanna Stay Home-Jellyfish 1992
Here For The Party-Gretchen Wilson 2004
Over You-Miranda Lambert 2011
Angel Eyes-Johnny Mathis 1956

PS:  Doesn't seem like people are that interested in reading about the Bargain Hunts since the Ann Arbor one only had like 7 views and the Ragged Records blog only 6.  But then again that may be a typo on Blogspot and that more people read them.

RIP Doc Watson, who passed away at age 89.

Then and now:  The Girl on Jellyfish's classic  Split Milk CD. (1993)