Saturday, September 29, 2012

Arizona 30 from the valley known

It's late in the evening as I type this and hope that nobody wants to use the computer.  This is why I usually come to the La Quita Inn in Mesa, they have a computer here that I can check up and see what's going on in the world.

It was 30 years ago that I first was introduced to the desert and since then became a regular visitor in the summer months.  It's still has a summer like quality out here, it was 104 today, it was 105 when I was in Lake Havasu City and it was 103 in Bullhead City.

For the most part, the best part of the trip was the Route 66 drive on Wed-Thursday, to which i went out so far into the California desert to seek out the old Road Runner's Retreat out in East Amboy, which is non existant.  Then spent an extra day out in Kingman while off the view from Room 220 at the Motel 6 got treated to seeing many many trains pass through town.

I met some interesting folk out there.  The old Hispanic dude at Needles to came up to talk to me and thought I was on drugs when I told him I was out sight seeing.  In Needles?  Gawd ya think I came from the moon.  Needles is a ghost town, most of downtown is empty buildings, the only thing worth seeing is the BNSF trains coming through.  Tired of Needles, went back into the old 66 through forgotten places such as Essex and Ludlow and the old Roy's Motel Place to which is empty shell of itself.  Buildings, rotting in the scorching heat and day light.

Las Vegas, wore out its welcome after meeting one too many black dudes trying to hustle change from myself, since the hotel was in the worst part of Las Vegas Boulevard.  No decent food places where i was at and the damn Circle K you had to manuever from pimps, crackheads and more change chasers.  Even had some fat black pimp following me down all the way to the Pawnshop made famous on History channel but neither the Old Man, the bald headed dude and Chumley was there but I made a clumsy picture of myself.  Even in that crazed look and the outfit couldn't stop the hustlers trying to shake your's up for more $$$. 

There's so much more to talk about, but my time is up and I need to let somebody else use the computer.  Personal to TAD, I did make a slight adjustment to the Top Ten of last week.  One can only take so much Candlebox.....

Late Update:

A few things going on.  Andy Williams passed away from bladder cancer at age 84.  Sorry to hear of his passing for he was probably the last of the male pop singers of the 50s and 60s era.

Best radio station has been KCDX 103.1.  They're mostly classic rock but they have been known to play Choctaw Bingo but not the James McMurtry version plus they played some very off the wall rock stuff in the process.  Of course the majority of the stations are you're Cumulus owned or Clear Channel owned garbage that we have back home.

I didn't have time nor the money to go see the dude at Wax Trax in Vegas but I'm sure he'd be very disapponited that I found some cheap 45's at 50 cents at the Half Priced Bookstore in Downtown Phoenix and managed to replaced some of my old scratchy stuff with some better looking 45s.  I managed to find a decent copy of Sheila by Tommy Roe at, where else, the Salvation Army in Kingman the other day.  I like bargain stuff, not to take away the professional record stores that charge top dollar, but cheaper 45s are so much fun.

The best place to find CDs at Hastings would be the one in Prescott although the one I visited twice in Kingman I didn't find but I did end up buying the new Neil Young book Raging Heavy Peace (Published by Penquin Books, a division of Pearson Inc, which is the place where I work) and so far, it reminds me a lot of the Eric Clapton Auto, speaking from a viewpoint like Eric although Neil is a bit more wordy and all over the place.  I only read about 30 pages but it did comfirm that he misses David Briggs very much.  Briggs is the producer who got more out of neil when Briggs was still alive.  The Prescott had the new Band Of Horses for 9 dollars new but the Kingman store had the new Green Day already used but for 10 bucks.  So I took a pass on that.  I do give the Hastings in Lake Havasu City props for a bigger bargain selection and more cds to cram into my carry on on the plane ride home.

Of course finally, Zia's, best record store in either Vegas or Phoenix although the Chandler store had a better selection and wasn't picked apart like the one in Tempe, which stays open till midnight.  Of course I think I got a discount for wearing my ASU jersey in the store but had to high tail it out there due to a appearence of a hometown rapper who I really have no interests in and the kids were filling the place up.  Too old and too smart for that.  Fear the fork y'all.

Which ends this with Arizona State going to Cal and beating them 27-17 today, for their first win there since 1997.  And Iowa beat Minnesota 31-13 today.  Which means Floyd is finally back home to where he belongs.

Final wrap up of Arizona 30 will be done later in the week.  Which will include more stories of Vegas, Route 66, trains and getting sunburned out on Crookton Pass in the process.

Happy Birthday Miss Madden

Out in the confines of the La Quinta Inn in Mesa I'm missing out on celebrating somebody's 40th birthday.

Sonya and I go way back to the early years of being in the printing and scanning area of the old NCS in Iowa City and have been good friends for the past 15 plus years. And then made the trip up to CR to where we are today.



Always a cheerful person with a smile on her face 99 percent of the time words cannot describe how fun it is been knowing her for all these years.  Recently she celebrated her anniversary with Jason, one of the best guys that I have known over the years.  They really do make a good couple.

But since I can't be there in person to celebrate (we'll do that when I get back)  I want to wish Sonya a happy 40th.  All the best!




Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Top Ten Of The Week-The 1994 Edition

Going through the archives, I came across the very first blog that I ever did.  Originally done on August 23, 1994.  At that time I was getting my information through Billboard.  At that time I was trying to impress somebody at Relics that I could be a music writer, or maybe it was some freebie music newspaper in CR.  They were not impressed.

Hello People,

This is a new attempt by yours truly to find some valuable means of wasting time and pick up a new hobby at the same time reporting to you the state of music today.  Maybe your local underground newspaper will pick this up as one of their special features but I seriously doubt that.

My name is R. Smith and I'm a music collector and lover.  You have probably seen me as a standard fixture at Relics in Cedar Rapids, I'm usually the dude that hovering over the CD section bugging the hell out of Jerry or manning the cash register while he goes to the bathroom.  I guess I consider myself a part part timer.  I buy lots of music up there, lots of promo copies of stuff that wouldn't sell and what I want to do with this feature is to review the new releases that come into the store.  Remember it's my opinion and it's not the end of the world if you don't agree with me if I don't like it.  I may just get bored and hang it up a week or two later since that's what I'm good for, start something and then put it on the back burner.  It may take time for me to get the hang of things but bare with me.  We might be on to something.

For a review I submit to you The Counting Crows-August And Everything After (DGC).  Mr. Jerry Scott called this record to my attention since he kept playing it all the time.  Robert Christgau calls this record over hype, but I don't think it is.  The Counting Crows really didn't take off until a performance on the should be canceled Saturday Night Live to which VH1 played Mr Jones to death and the radio stations followed suit.  Adam Durwitz, the freaky looking rasta looking dude has a voice like Van Morrison, which might suggest that they will be a band to be around for years to come.  I thought they sounded like what The Band would sound like had Van been the lead singer, quite a compliment but Durwitz' higher pitched whine makes this album expandable.  Still with better songs like Time And Time Again and the Rain King, tailor made for AOR radio it still deserves it's place in classic rock. It's been in the Billboard's top ten most of the year and is recommended for those who can find it used.  And you will.  It's a B minus

I've seen Rolling Stone give the new Neil Young Sleeps With Angels (Reprise)  five stars but when I first heard it, I wasn't exactly bowed over with excitement.  However repeated listens revealed some of his most personal work to date, especially the title track dedicated to Kurt Cobain who decided to blow his head off six months after In Utero.  But for a Crazy Horse album it's more subdued except for the feedback laden title track, the hilarious Piece Of Crap directed at QVC and their Made in China crap and the fifteen minute loose jam of Change Your Mind, which is half interesting and goes on too long.  But it's mostly the simple beauty of Train Of Love (although Western Hero uses the same melody) and A Dream That Can Last, or the depressing Safeway Cart and the senseless killing of a innocent bystander in Drive By.

In the 90s Neil Young Has made some of the most startling music of the era and all are worth listening to, except for the 34 minute feedback extravaganza that is Arc Weld. But Sleeps With Angels is a major statement;  it's mellow where it should be, it rocks when it wants to and if it wants to get sloppy, you get Change Your Mind.  It's Neil Young as we know and love, unpredictable.  Long may you run Neil
Grade A-

My Top Ten Of The Week of 8/23/94

1.  Longview-Green Day
2.  You-Candlebox
3.  Found Out About You-Gin Blossoms
4.  I Go Wild-Rolling Stones
5.  Got No Shame-Brother Cane
6.  Goodbye-The Sand Rubies
7.  Incomplete-Bad Religion
8.  Cut Your Hair-Pavement
9.  Piece Of Crap-Neil Young And Crazy Horse
10.Heterosexual Man-The Odds

Well it's about time for me to throw this turkey in the oven.  But next week I'll be back to review the brand new REM Monster album and the long awaited Rolling Stones album Voodoo Lounge.


Friday, September 21, 2012

From The Archives: Rich Rosen And Wax Trax Records

Update reminiscing:  While Rich Rosen gets raked over the coals in reviews, I still find him to be a very interesting man.  I pretty much stayed over in the CD section and didn't venture into the vinyl that much. Once you get to know him he's really not that bad.  While I did invested about 170 dollars into my trip to Wax Trax, most of the CDs that I did find were out of print even at that time.  I hope to be like him someday in the aspirations of picking up record collections and starting up a music store.  Or maybe I'll will him my collection when I go since he'll probably outlive me.  BTW, he also has lots of cassettes too!



Back in 2005 I made a trip out to Las Vegas in search of records or CDs for that matter.  The cheap ones for at that time the pawnshops had a good selection of cheap music.  So I found a out of way place called Wax Trax Records, a little house on the corner of Decatur and Mena and met a interesting gentleman, asking me what I was looking for, and basically I told him I'm looking for bargains!

Get out of my place!  We don't have bargains here!  You're wasting my time!

And so I met Rich Rosen, the owner of this place.  Kinda of took me back there.  I told him ya know I came a long way to find your place and if you don't think the old money I have here spends well, there's others.   To which he pointed toward the CD selection on searching for a Soul Brothers Six song on a import CD he sold me for I think 16 bucks. Which was the going price at that time and even though I did find a few bargain bins for 8 bucks apiece, I think the big deal was a Ultravox CD on Island that he may not known about.  But I think the majority of stuff I did buy from him were 60s compilations.  But in my hour and half of being in there we did talk about the good old rock and roll days and his radio show that he has on on weekends.  And we had a good chat too although I have Rosen isn't too well liked in the area.  Plenty of scathing reviews of his place is plasted on Google or Yelp or even the LV weekly mag.

 https://plus.google.com/101572483214604188346/about?gl=US&hl=en-US
http://www.yelp.com/biz/wax-trax-records-inc-las-vegas

Make no mistake Wax Trax is perhaps the most hardcore professional record store that I have ever frequented to and when you deal with Rich Rosen, you're taking on somebody who knows his records inside and out and he tells you right off the bat what he has is hard to find and expensive.  And Rich reminds me of the Soup Nazi guy from Seinfeld.  He is not for everybody, especially the ones that come in and don't buy anything, ya think he'd get the Vegas Mafia after those who do that.  I'm sure he has no time nor patience for the casual looker who say he can find that certain album much cheaper on EBAY or Amazon or Record City.  Sometimes he'll match that price.  Sometimes he throws them out anyway.  Which is why he has survives in a world of dying record stores, a originality that borders on the gruffness and arrogance that brings out the negative reviews.  The reason why the prices are high are that they hard to come by and he knows it and is in to make money as well.  But he has his fans and a big following all across the world (George Carlin for one).  And he may be the biggest record collector that I have ever known, known to close up shop to find that ultra rare 78 or 45 doowop song that few know about.  He also hosts  The Street Harmony Revue, the last show dedicated to doo wop anywhere in the states. (Note: the show ended in June 2015)

The more I thought about it after leaving his record store, the more I thought it's more of a museum of records rather than your true record store.  Which is why he has so much music and nostalgic things that came with the records era.  The old RCA His Master's Voice Dog for one thing.  I'm sure Rich does have that picture sleeve of Jimi Hendrix' Hey Joe somewhere but I don't think I'll take a second mortgage on the home to get it.   Nevertheless, Rich might be a bit expensive on his records and he might come as corrosive and challenging at times, but he knows music and one of the best lovers of record collecting.  The History Channel since they have Pawn Stars based out of Vegas, should consider giving Rich his own reality show about music collecting and people he meet. I'd watch that. 
 

http://www.facebook.com/waxtraxrecords





Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Top Ten Of The Week-What ever It Is

This should bring in the ratings eh?
 

Bob Dylan may have been in a cranky mood when he did that Rolling Stone interview when people accused him of ripping off other artists as "wussies and pussies" but musicians have been doing that since the beginning of time.  I'm not like you he says and that's true for everybody.  I'm not like you either.  Take that for the good or bad.  http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/13/entertainment-us-bobdylan-plagiarism-idUSBRE88C00720120913


The Arizona trip is beginning to shape up finally.  Beginning with two days at Mesa at the old Motel 6, which was chosen simply of the fact that I was going to get there late Friday and not have time to really do much.  I'm hoping that they might have the Utah/ASU game but it's on Pac 12 Network we may have to show up at Sun Devil Stadium in front of many many folks.  Sunday, it's a traveling date up to the north country and then Fremont Street Vegas here I come.  I doubt if I'll be around much of a computer so whatever updates that come along will be a surprise.  Unless I stop at the Quality Inn in Kingman and check up on things.

In the meantime this top ten figures onto the bizarre and extreme.  Just the way you like it.

1.  I Save Cigarette Butts-P 1995  To which Gibby Hayes of the Butthole Surfers meets Johnny Depp.  Daniel Johnston wrote this and although I've heard of him have never checked out his music.  P is strangely weird in spots, noisier than Metal Music Music in others and not that much different than the Butthole Surfers.  The CD is a collector's item, one of a few cd's that Bob Schneider lended me to hear over the weekend.


2.  Julian H Cope-Julian Cope 1992  Cope is a headcase that sometimes borders on the dark side of bizarre and basically he's even more out there than Robyn Hitchcock.  St. Julian remains his classic album and the followup My Nation Underground was so mainstream that Cope disowned it.  But beginning with Peggy Suicide and Jehovahkill, Cope made no attempt to connect with pop world, basically throwing gobs of weird shit to make the songs more harder to take.  Autogeddon, I threw in the towel after hearing that but that record owes a lot Jehovahkill than St. Julian.   Badges, Badges?  We don't need stinking Badges!  This clip from a 2010 solo show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjIKWwj_JZA

3.  Flyin' High-Z Z Top 2012  New ZZ Top album and basically my opinion of it hasn't changed since I wrote the review last week.  It still sounds lazy and tossed together but if radio decides to play anything off this that would be considered a single, this would be it.

4.  Lord Have Mercy On A Country Boy-Don Williams 1990  I was going to include this on a Singles Going Steady country 45s but since there was a lack of interest on that last posting I decided to hold off.  His new album And So It Goes is pure country that doesn't play on the stations today, too country and nothing about boom boom speakers and trucks.  Problem with country radio is same with other genres: the bean counters don't care for the old farts that made country music what it was in the 1970s and Williams was what you heard is what you get.  After the MCA hits dried up, Don moved to Capitol for a few but perhaps his underrated RCA period had some great tunes, such as this last top 20 hit for him in 1990. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvY8u0DHBdA


5.  Live Work & Play-The Sports 1979  Aussie New Wave band that made a couple of albums for Arista, Don't Throw Stones was one of those promotional albums that Steve Bray at Record Realm put out and I picked up without much knowledge of it.  They're best known for Who Listens To The Radio which got some airplay in 1979.  Down under, they were part of the Mushroom Records roster (along with The Angels, Jo Jo Zep, Split Enz and Hunters & Collectors) and I found their Don't Throw Stones CD at the pawnshop for a dollar.

6.  Gates Of Love-Circus Of Power 1990  Working in packaging brings out the crank in me more often and basically it has to do with the Cumulus owned crap stations we have here. KDAT and KRNA, the REAL rock station.  Bah!  KRNA's idea of real rock is Nevermind or Dirt or Appetite for Destruction  and of course they're also playing to death Green Day's Oh Love, which is used for Angry Birds too.  While people complain about Clear Channel, I bitch more about Cumulus' owned shit radio stations, KDAT soft rock boohah and KRNA's REAL rock, fuck you anyway Cumulus Corporate owned radio and your GD 400 songs of real rock.  What's real rock for you isn't real rock for me.  Case in point, Circus Of Power, whose bar band rock and roll was part of the real rock scene of  the late 80s and early 90s but while I didn't get the first album, I did buy Vices, the now forgotten 2nd album that BMG pulled a couple weeks afterwards and most copies went straight into the bargain bins.  This song does borrow a bit of  Black Dog and  Still Of The Night but KRNA will not play Circus Of Power regardless.  The Cumulus Braintrust don't think it's real rock.  Fuck them anyway with a cactus up the keyster.


7.  Loser-Beck 1994  Another of Bob's favorites, he loves Beck Hansen, I can tolerate bits and pieces of him at times although when Mellow Gold came out, I dismissed it right off the bat.  But over the years Mellow Gold has grown upon my ears just like XTC did and Wire did, all bands I thought was a piece of crap till multiple plays kinda got me hooked.  KRNA is known to play Loser to which I never get the words right when I sing it.  Improvised verse: Don't expect no miracle, I'm a Loser baby, So why don't ya just blow me?  Mike dared me to sing it during a karaoke showcase of his and I sprung the improvised verse on and almost got thrown out of the Sip and Stir.  This fucking town has no sense of humor.

8.  Hear My Train A Comin-Jimi Hendrix 1968 but came from The Jimi Hendrix Concerts 1984  Funny thing back then that Warner/Reprise would issue Jimi outtakes throughout the 70s and although most of it suggested the direction Jimi would take, the basis of me was trying to save up the money to buy the live stuff, and there's plenty of live Hendrix out there nowadays.  Experience Hendrix through Legacy has reissued the MCA stuff and for the most part, issued concerts of certain shows (Winterland, Fillmore, Woodstock come to mind)   This song is from the Winterland October 10 concert and like the majority of songs from that which made the original Concerts, the Winterland show was very loud and Hendrix was playing loud guitar. While some say another live version that made the Rainbow Bridge soundtrack of 1971 to be definite, I disagree.  To each their own. I suppose.  Side note: had two copies of the Reprise CD of the concerts and both were poorly mastered, Foxy Lady which was the bonus track skipped on both but somehow the folks at Castle Communications reissued this in the UK and I found a copy and it plays fine.



9.  Circles-Eddie And The Hot Rods 1979  No you didn't hear this on the radio, it was off the import album Thriller that Island didn't bother to issue in the US.  The Hot Rods were a pub band that got limped into the punk rock scene but they were more R and B based than the can't play at all noise of the Pistols or the Damned but Teenage Depression and Life On The Line remain the albums to get from this band.  Thriller was more desperate sounding and a bid for the BBC radio I suppose since the late Linda McCartney sang on some of the songs off that album.  Life On The Line was either found as a cut out at the old Krackers store or maybe one of the first albums I ever bought at BJ's in Iowa City but I do know that I got the import Thriller at Record Realm.  And Steve Bray always had one of the best selection of music at that fondly remembered store.

 

10.  Sacrifice/Let There Be Peace-Bob Mould 1990.  Well I guess I have been in a 90s mood judging that 6 of the 10 selections submitted come from that era.  Mould does have a new album out but he's been a love/hate thing for me, loved his Husker Du years, the Virgin era gave us three albums, one was mostly acoustic, the second one raging alternative noise/rock and the third a album that borrowed from both albums and some bonus cuts and felt like a waste before Mould formed Sugar a band that made a bunch of albums and EPs for Rykodisc, most you can find in the dollar bins but Merge Records reissued them this year in 2 CD formats.  And then the new album to which reviews have been the usual praise good but it's not something high on my list to hear.  So we end this from the final cut from Black Sheets Of Rain, noise, anger and Anton Fier bashing cymbals left and right.  Anger is an energy.

Five more for the road:

Lounge Act-Nirvana 1991
Apple-Mondo Drag 2010
Speedball-Manitoba's Wild Kingdom 1990
Ain't Nothing But A House Party-J. Geils Band 1973
Goin Home-Rolling Stones 1966

Somehow I had 5 pictures that disappeared on me and for the second time in a row.  What I don't like about this is that when you lose pictures they lose the meaning of the paragraph.  Since this is an archival thingy, it's not worth the effort to replace the pictures.  So be it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Observations: Mr Music Head, Norman, the single theory

In my place of work we print about 9 month a year and then get farmed out to the tenth level of Dante's Inferno we call Packaging to which we join the other zombies down there of fixed breaks, forced exercises and the grueling task of hearing Pauly or Tandy bitching about how late we are coming back from walking around the building during break and missing these important exercises that aren't fun and moreorless takes us back to the era of slavery.  Sad to say we'll be down there most of the end of the year unless I can break my arm or get a heart attack from the stress levels down there.

We have characters of note down there.  Brad the main guy from days is super nice and always takes time out to say hi to you whenever he can.  Pauly on the other hand would had fit in well with the GOP or better yet the Nazi's of Germany fame.  And Tandy tends to bitch at the slightest thing, I think we had a row with him on my earphones that drowned out the noise down there and not the ones I listen to on the discman.  But then again if you were a guy and named Tandy perhaps you too can be pissed at the world for your folks giving you a girl's name, or perhaps hanging too much at Radio Shack. Enough of them.

Norman is an interesting person.  Mention his name around town and you hear things like asshole or dumb SOB but he is a gruff dude but he hasn't had much luck in love  I used to know him from the Rock n Bach days when we both hanged out there but at time he was dating and eventually marrying (and divorcing) the owner's daughter to which I kinda had eyes on but never really made much of an effort to go after her (much to Norm's chagrin, J/K).  His latest GF worked up there but then got let go due to department issues and lately they haven't been seeing things eye to eye.  He's a big Chargers fan, more so than I, he likes Philip Rivers enough to wear his jersey, I think Rivers is overrated myself and hate the new Chargers uniforms.  He is a person that needs the companionship of a woman whereas I myself are more into my own company and where the road leads.

Bob is another co worker in packaging that I knew offhand from a record store he used to own in Coralville years ago, Mr. Music Head was the name of it and me and Thomas was trying to remember it via our conversations of decent music stores around the area.  I know I been to Mr Music Head a couple times in the 90s but wasn't called a regular but Bob's store died along the time that Napster came about, the internet came about and the reality record stores were beginning to closed one by one.  Another dude that owned Sweet Living Antiques also worked at my place of work for a time being as well, as well as Gayla Drake Paul, one of the best female guitar pickers in the area.  Bob is more cynical than I am, he speaks up his mind in town hall meetings at our workplace and really gives it to the braintrust.  He's 58 now, gotten past a heroin addiction and we got to be talking about tunes and music since we are both the same type of person that likes much music.  He's more in the DBs, a band that I never got much into myself, he likes their early stuff, I like the Peter Hosapple era and it's kinda funny to see Bob hop around dancing and playing air guitar to Soul Kiss.  However he did lend me a bunch of Julian Cope stuff, another artist that I never gave much credence about although the Skellington EP is Cope at his weirdest fun.  Another interesting CD was P, the bizarre band with Gibby Hayes and Johnny Depp playing songs in a Butthole Surfer way, some good, mostly bad and some unlistenable squawk noise that I hit the next button on the car player.  But for fun stuff like The Deal or I Save Cigarette Butts, we get the usual F bombs like Mr. Officer or White Man Sings The Blues.  In this day and age it still amazes me that Capitol even put this out as well as couple of Butthole Surfers albums in the 90s but you had to be there.

Bob mentioned that he's moved back home to help out with finances with his ex and seeing his children on a day to day basis again and invited me to check out what he had for vinyl but in the future I might do that.  But for the most part at least I owe him My Nation Underground by Julian Cope (it's the only album on biz torrent that isn't on there he says, reason was that Cope disowned it since it was produced by Ron Fair, hack producer for Pink or Liz Phair later on). Although Mr Music Head is still listed on the online yellow pages it isn't there, Bob closed it down about a decade ago but where he used to have it was where the old Coralville Post Office was at.  Like the majority of folks today Bob doesn't buy CDs, he enjoys the the internet Biz Torrent and most of the time just dances away to DBs or Beck playing on his I Phone.  Myself, I have yet to come over to the Iphone or IPod or I anything but maybe perhaps it's me in my twilight refusing to come abroad to the great jukebox in the sky.  As I sit here and plan for my vacation and looking for more of the outdated CD and album format I tend to be set in my ways in a era to which the things I grew up are now becoming a thing of the past and have no idea what to expect to find on the AZ/Vegas trip.

In the meantime, I still have a couple more Julian Cope CDs to get through before it's all said and done. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Music: Bob Dylan, ZZ Top

11 years ago, we lost many friends and families from the 9/11 disaster and still remember to this day and forever till we all departed from this world.  It was that week that Bob Dylan made his last epic classic album Love And Theft, an album so good that a second rate country band took that name.  Dylan never sounded more funnier and more rocking at his 61 years of living indicate.  That remains a A plus CD in my book although the cantankerous Bob Lefsetz has nothing to do with later day Dylan and on his latest blog thought the new Dylan was a joke of a album.  But if you have been listening to Dylan thoughout his 50 years of recording that every album has been a journey on its own and each album is as different than the other one.  Sometimes Dylan stubs his toe and makes a turd once in a while (Under The Red Sky, Budokan, Dylan And The Dead)  and sometimes what one thinks can be a classic, another thinks it's not, Blonde On Blonde is as overrated as Self Portrait is underrated.  And his born again albums have a charm of their own although I find Slow Train Coming is more of a chore to listen to more so than Shot Of Love although Saved I'll sit on the fence.  And Down In The Groove, probably would worked better had Dylan stuck with The Dead then do throwaway remakes on the Dylan And The Dead fiasco, his worst album in the catalog, maybe more than the 1973 Columbia barrel bottom scrapings Dylan LP.  But let's not talk falsely about his music, I don't have the space to talk about his catalog.

The biggest fart comes from Rolling Stone giving Tempest a five star rating and comparing it to Time Out Of Mind, for these ears it sounds more like Love And Theft Part 2 but more of a darker overtone in Dylan's lyrics.  It starts out great with Duquense Whistle, the outlaw begging Pay In Blood, (but not my own) and the talking blues rock of Narrow Way which is one of those Dylan numbers that he does so well, with the call and response of his band playing along.  Which sounds like Honest With Me Part 2.  Early Roman Kings, is where Bo Diddley comes out of the grave and sues him for ripping off I'm A Man to which it's note for note as Bob goes on about Early Roman Kings.  Or Bobby Fuller giving him the look after taking New Shade Of Blue for Soon After Midnight. Taken as single numbers Tempest is much better that way than trying to sit through 68 minutes of Dylan ramblings, to which Dylan concludes the album with 3 songs hitting a half hour and boring the hell out me beginning with Tin Angel which if you in the mood might make a good mini novel but the music drags too much for me to be interested.  And Roll On John, his John Lennon elegy again is close to eight minutes of tedium.  It certainly doesn't rock, it's more easy listening muzak.

Tempest, that 13:56 fantasy/reality story telling of the sinking of the Titanic is Bob has his longwinded, and just as tedious as the movie itself.  But it not a throwaway, you have to be in the right set of mood to listen and get through it all.  I have to marvel at the way that Dylan managed to make the whole 45 verses come together, this did took a lotta thought to get through it singing it as well as us trying to get through listening to it.

While Will Hermes marvels that Dylan is still on top of his game, actually Bob has been on top of his game for a good 15 years beginning with Time Out Of Mind when the critics just about gave up on him on Under The Red Sky, Dylan always has known what to do with a lyric or line and put it to his advantage.  And of course with him lifting a note from Bo Diddley or Bobby Fuller, he pays homage to their music by adding theirs to his.  But at age 71, Dylan's vocals you tolerate or hate and just forget the whole thing.  To which fairweather Dylan fans are advised to stick with the classics of the 60s and Blood On The Tracks.  If you have a complaint with his voice you are missing out on some of his finest albums in the later years starting with Time Out Of Mind, Love And Theft, Modern Times and to a lesser extent Together Through Life.  Tempest continues that streak of great to classic albums but in this day and age classic rock radio will not touch this, nor modern rock and even NPR (although KUNI did play a track from it the other night). Whatever the consensus, be it the folk that think his prime is long gone, or those who think every album is a five star album, Tempest is an album that people will be taking about for most of the month before the next big thing comes along.  It's dark, and it just may be the weirdest album he's ever put out (even more so than Saved or Down In The Groove) it's what Dylan does best, throwing curves and moving on to the next project.  Provided if he lives that long.

 http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/music/4525251/Review-of-Bob-Dylan-album-Tempest.html

As for ZZ Top, perhaps it's time for me to stop listening to their albums.  Inspired by their getting together with Rick Rubin, the end result came up La Futura (American/Universal Republic).  And may be more disappointing than Meselero their final RCA effort which went on too long for me.  No denying Billy F Gibbons can play some mean and greasy Texas based guitar and he does that but the problem is that the songs on La Futura come off tossed off and forgettible.  More like jamming and trying to see where things will lead and most of the album goes nowhere and is over recorded in the process. (The LOUDNESS factor again, if you have turn your presets on your stereo down two notches you know it's too loud). The usual talk about ZZ Top going back to their roots but the source seems to come from Rhythmneen the 1996 classic album while the ballad Over You recalls Rough Boy from Afterburner.  And the album suffers from songs needing a fade out rather than continuing to jam till it stops and the best song I Don't Wanna Lose, Lose, You suffers from that.  And that seems to be a problem with a Rick Rubin produced record nowadays, the guy knows not a fader that makes a song better known and which is why his AC/DC production didn't work so well either. The usually reliable Joe Hardy adds way too much loudness on the recording as well.

We don't expect an Eliminator or Tres Hombres  or even El Loco late in the game and perhaps ZZ Top is just better off sticking with La Grange or Legs when they play shows.  It's one thing to play lowdown dirty Texas blues and boogie but the majority of the time La Futura sounds too lazy for me to really care anymore. If you must get this album at least go to Best Buy and get the one with the bonus cuts Threshold Of A Breakdown and Drive By Lover, those are the two best songs off this album.

Grades:
Bob Dylan-Tempest B+
ZZ Top-La Futura C+

PS  Dave White seemed to enjoy the ZZ Top album better than I did as he puts his two cents in on the album.  You really don't need to turn it up loud, the engineer who recorded it does it for you automatically http://classicrock.about.com/od/artistsnz/fr/Zz-Top-La-Futura.htm 

For all the 5 stars kudos for Tempest, All Music Guide gives it a three and half star rating which is just right. Dave White again differs on my opinion, he only gives it 3 stars and a more critical take on it.  And he may have not seen the inside cover of Dylan smoking a cigar to give his voice that nice WC Fields sound.  http://classicrock.about.com/od/artistsaf/fr/Bob-Dylan-The-Tempest.htm

All Music Guide review:  http://www.allmusic.com/album/tempest-mw0002405466

Thom Jurek may have gotten the feeling right that the 14 minute title track and Roll On John does go on forever and make the album that much more of a chore to listen to.  In the end, the battle of the senior citizens of singer songwriting, Leonard Cohen's Old Ideas beats out Tempest in terms of what to get for your old Grandpa that used to be part of the Woodstock Nation or the Folk Explosion of the early 60s.

As for ZZ Top, my final thought is the same as my first impression, they went back to basics, they play well and if you enjoy their early albums you'll get a kick out of this, I just can't get into it, no matter how many times I play the damn thing.

Robert Christgau's Verdict on Tempest.

 Although his voice is crumbling audibly and his band is too often static, Dylan remains one of our more thoughtful wordslingers in the ever-changing trad mode he's made his own. Still, the meme that this album is a major statement where Together Through Life was a holding action bespeaks the unseen hand of the autohype machine and the superstitious fears that attend 70th birthdays. Although the four trad relationship numbers that open build nicely on Together Through Life's strategy and groove, the closers aim higher with dubious-to-disgracef​​ ul results. For all its well-borrowed tune and well-digested details, nobody's putting the 14-minute Titanic ballad on repeat, and the seven-minute John Lennon dirge says nothing at half speed just like the naysayers neigh. That leaves four tracks, and how much you admire this record will depend on how redolent you find two of them: the quiet jeremiad "Scarlet Town" and the quieter love-triangle cut-'em-up "Tin Angel." I say they'd be better faster, possibly. As for "Early Roman Kings," a black-comedy dis of the rich and richer, and "Pay in Blood," folk-music death metal via sanguinary imagery and microphone placement, you gotta love 'em. B PLUS

 PS: From Chris Morris to reply to Bob Lefsetz about his post about Tempest.

 
"OK, I don't think "Tempest" is everything many are cracking it up to be, based on my online listening.
But this raging douche bag Lefsetz, who has been known to swoon over Bryan Adams and always thumps the podium about the primacy of the marketplace, is talking about how Dylan should retire, how out of step and irrelevant the old goat is.

Hello? Dylan's last two studio albums, "Together Through Life" and "Modern Times," were in this country. His previous two albums were No. 5 and No. 10. That's four top-10 albums cut between the ages of 60 and 71. And the new album has a pretty good shot at being No. 1 next week. Yeah, it's been a long time since his last hit single. So fucking what? The man continues to sell records to a devoted audience. And Lefsetz would deny him the right to make them?

I guess there are a sufficient number of people in this country who still find both Bob Dylan's music and the album format meaningful. Sorry they no longer have a place in yours, Leftsetz. Now go away, please."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Top Ten Of The Week-Diminished Returns

Greetings, I'm not dead yet but I tried to kill myself falling down the fucking steps this morning, my brain thought I had 9 steps, while reality said there was 10 and bend my damn arm back in the process.  Growing old a fucking piece of work.

 

Ratings wise looks to be under 2,000 this month.  Basically I haven't been much in a blogging mood and it shows on the amount of blogs.  Plus I don't many comments to discuss things, seems when I open it up for everybody I get the usual pornsites and other drivel from anonymous trolls.  Rock n Roll and The Brains continues to get the views although the Sick Of Summer Blog got twice more views than the last top ten of the week.  Not exactly promising news.  The Ides Of March blog is the most viewed top ten of the week with over 100 views straight.

College football has started and the Iowa Hawkeyes have a crappy offense.  The diminished returns remark can also apply to their offense which only scored one touchdown and fail to do anything against the ISU Cyclones to which ISU won 9-6 and took the Cy Hawk Trophy back to Ames.  Looks like the Iowa trophy case is going to be missing a few more of them this year.  On the plus side, the Arizona State Sun Devils blew out Illinois 45-14 in a late game at Tempe.  ASU in two games have turned the offense up a lot more and making few mistakes in the process although Northern Arizona is not a powerhouse team at all.  If ASU beat Missouri up there then they will be a team to watch.

Last week Joe South passed away at age 72 from heart ailments and I was gong to write a blog about it but really couldn't come up with much to say about it.  A long time ago Joe South made a big impact on society with Games People Play (not the Spinners song) that was one of most covered songs in the late 60s but South had a few more hits with Walk A Mile In My Shoes and the more reflective Don't It Make You Want To Go Home, but for the most part South's song were bigger hits for other artists, Deep Purple covered Hush as well as Billy Joe Royal who's best of for Columbia has plenty of South penned songs.  And of course Lynn Anderson who stuck it big with Rose Garden and Fool Me, and The Raiders got a hit with Birds Of A Feather.  Sadly the suicide of Joe's brother who played drums in Joe's band affected South so much that he simply dropped out and with a exception of a album for Island,  wasn't heard from as much.  Dan Baird credits him with a appearance of his version of Hush on the Buffalo Nickel for American.  The best Joe South overview was the Rhino Best Of Joe South but it only had the Capitol selections, whereas a Koch retrospective had a few more older section of songs from the earlier years.  Only thing still in print is the EMI Classic Masters which has the bare bones hits.

The Top Ten goes like this:

 


1.  Gangster Of  Love-Johnny "Guitar" Watson 1978   He made some strange sides for King was back in the late 50s and may have started heavy metal like Bo Diddley did but he was more blues and laid back soul in the 60s for Okeh and Chess although I Cried For You his Chess album was put out in one of the all time worst record covers in history.  His funk career took off in the mid 70s with a couple so so albums for Fantasy before hitting his stride for DJM with the crazy Funk Beyond The Call Of Duty or Real Mother For Ya.  Giant, the 1978 effort is his most schizophrenic, with a combo of disco, blues, funk disco and whatever the hell was Baby Face (She said Doo Doo Doo etc etc).  Too bad he didn't stick more to the blues on this revisit of his best known song here which of course was covered by the other gangster of love, Mr. Steve Miller.

2.  The Main Thing-Roxy Music 1982   In my getting to be old age, I have many suggestions for the top ten but as the week goes on and as I get preoccupied with other nonconforming things I forget to add bands and Roxy Music tops this list.  Hell I probably would forget them again had it not been Bob Lefsetz to remind us how great Avalon was and it just might be the best thing Roxy Music or Bryan Ferry has ever done.  Great music to make love to he writes in his column and the title track does present such seducing music for Mr Stiffy and the love interest.   I think Avalon did more than Manifesto was supposed to do in the seduction department although both albums are still great, they did a misstep with Flesh And Blood the 1980 in between-er album that I never got into although the longing to be Oh Yeah was great.  More Than This was the hit, Take A Chance On Me a worthy followup but this starting out side 2 of Avalon was nice sophisticated rocking number reeking a big on the dangerous side.  Avalon would be the last Roxy Music album although Ferry continued to make solo albums that had their moments as well. http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug03/articles/roxymusic.htm

3.  Van Halen-Nerf Herder 1996  Indee rock of the mid 60's with a bit of Weezer and Pavement thrown in for good measure Nerf Herder made this tribute to the DLR led Van Halen and gives a raspberry to Sammy Hager to which I'm surprised the red rocker hasn't made any comments about that given his still pissed off tirades about the reunited Van Halen with Dave back in tow. This came out on My Records which Arista picked up for a while then dropped but as far as I know Nerf Herder is still around. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0j0xBfRasw

4.  Cheer Up-The Wailers 1971?  Leslie Kong has done great things as a legendary reggae producer (Desmond Dekker, The Pioneers, The Maytals) but I find his production with Bob Marley and The Wailers to be a clash in sound itself but not without a charm either.  Rumour has it that Neville Livingston (aka Bunny Wailer) warning Kong not to bill these sessions as The Greatest Hits or bad things will happen to him but Kong released them anyway and ended up getting a massive heart attack a couple weeks later.  A shame really since The Wailers never sounded as soulful as they did on the Kong produced songs.  Peter Tosh sings lead on this.  Universal did reissued the Best Of The Wailers in 2004 on CD which still is in print but of course your local Best Buy doesn't have it.  But they do have the 20th Century Masters to which part of that was produced by Lee Perry.  And a bit more toward the radical too.

5.  I'm Going To Chance The World-The Animals 1965    They didn't.  B side to It's My Life which was more radical than We Gotta Get Out Of This Place.  Even though they were more into the hard R and B covers (John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley) Eric Burdon could write a great song on his own too.  This does sound very much like punk rock 1965 but with a bit more substance.

6.   Pay In Blood-Bob Dylan 2012  Still bringing it at age 71 his new album isn't the five star all time classic as Rolling Stone would like you to believe but it does rank pretty high on the list, if you can overlook Dylan's ever declining vocals.    Even Leonard Cohen's croon makes more melodic sense than Bob but I never count Dylan out ever.  He's thrown so many curves on the road he travels that I enjoy the ride fairly well.  Someday it will have to end. http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2012/09/11/dylan/  A counterpoint and argument that Dylan should give it up since he can't sing anymore.

7. Android-Green Day 1992  For the most part, I still like Green Day's albums of the 90s a lot more than some of the fair weather critics that used to like them but now think they suck.  There's lot more worse out there.  Hard to believe that our favorite punks made this album 20 years ago and although they sound more mainstream today than punk  I still get a buzz out of Kerplunk or Insommiac and even the overplayed Dookie, just like a certain trio from Seattle whose Nevermind you can hear most of in its entirety on KRNA, the Culumus owned "real rock" station.   Or Back In Black.

8.  The Hives-Introduce The Metric System In Time-The Hives 2000  And to make you feel even older than you are, it's hard to believe this fun band has been around for a decade and a half.  I think the press overhyped them just like they did with The Strokes.  The Strokes really never did much for me, The Hives have done somewhat better, they're more garage punk with a nod to the Stooges or even DMZ who made a fun album on Sire with Flo And Eddie producing.  Randy Fitzsimmons pretty much writes everything in this band and probably sings it too, they had a hit with Hate To Tell You So back in 2000 that KRNA will not play today.  It cuts into their Nirvana Nevermind time.

9.  Over The Line-Johnny Rivers 1972   Johnny Rivers' place in rock history is cemented with those Whiskey A Go Go live recordings that had a crowd that loved his cover versions and Rivers has always been a great cover artist, you can't escape Rockin Phenomena And The Boogie Woogie Flu anywhere, classic rock, oldies, nostalgia.  And he always had top notch players in his band especially the ones that played on Rockin Phenomena but he did managed to record part of a 1972 show in Paris featuring some of these players, Herb Petersen, Jim Horn, Dean Parks and the tragically great drummer Jim Gordon who really makes this concert something special.  Last Boogie In Paris, originally released as a 8 song EP for Atlantic (released only in the UK) gets the whole showcase reissued on Shout Factory and I didn't pay much attention when it came out till Half Priced Books had it used for a dollar.  A dollar well spent so to speak. Varese Vintage issued the 8 song LP as well but the Shout Factory album has the complete show all the way to a in your face John Lee Hooker Boogie stomp at the end.

10.  Eighties-Killing Joke 1985   The Joke back in their goth dance era and it's not my favorite of time, they got too Depeche Mode on me or worse Duran Duran although on Night Time they begin to show a bit more of themselves on this classic cut to which Nirvana swiped to use on Come As You Are but Dave Grohl pays it forward by bashing the hell out of the drums on the 2003 comeback album for Killing Joke.  The return of the original KJ lineup has given us two very strong albums and I still think that the second coming of them that began in 1994 with Pandemonium which made me a fan of theirs soon afterwards.  You can probably excuse them for the bizarre fiasco of Jaz Coleman this summer which cut short of their tour but he's still alive and doing fine and even making a symphonic album of Nirvana songs.  Things are just turning full circle ain't they?

And now the other five:

So What-Ministry 1990
Disconnected-Face To Face 1994
The Robots-Kraftwerk 1978
Takin Pills-Pistol Annies 2011
Mirror Of Your Mind-Joe South 1969

And for next week, we're working on it already.

Site of the week; http://www.soundonsound.com/

One of the best places to read about producers and how they record artists.  Just discovered this today.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Singles Going Steady 6-B Sides + 45 Cat

http://www.45cat.com/

For our latest installment of 45s, we pay tribute to the b side.  Back in my time of growing up I couldn't afford albums on a cheapassed income of peddling Penny Savers a backbreaking job for a 12 years old that only payed in pennies of papers delivered.  The Penny Saver was a free paper of want ads and inserts from the local Hy Vee as well as the entertainment section to where bars would advertise the cover bands playing at their local dives.

Sometimes, B sides played a great role in playing certain album cuts that would placed on the other side of hits.  Without You by The Doobie Brothers was the B to Long Train Runnin' and Without You turned out to be one of the most requested songs on the FM dial.  Once in a while a live cover not available on album would be the only way of getting was to buy the 45.  Baby Don't You Do It, by The Who is the example and it was the opposite to Join Together in 1972.

Basically this is defeating the sense of purpose of the Top Ten Of The Week since these songs have been fitted in from time to time in archival Top Tens of the past.   But then again it's been to known that DJs have switched playing the other side if they didn't think the plug side wasn't catchy enough.  But from the 50s to the 90s there still remains plenty of undiscovered singles to be heard from the local junkshops or Ebay or you can locate a good chuck of them on You Tube.  With the revival of vinyl, the 45 single is making somewhat of a comeback with independent record companies reissuing them (such as Jack White's Third Man Records) but being the traditionalist that I am, I still love to take great pride in finding them in the past, being in like new shape for a 50 year old record or even as a reference copy if it's too scratched up.  Such is the our ongoing Singles Going Steady Series.  Maybe it will be of value to somebody out there.  We'll see.

1.  With A Girl Like You-The Troggs (Atco 45-6415)  1966  B side to Wild Thing which was issued by both Atco and Fontana Records but to collectors the Atco one is the more desirable due to this song which was later issued by Fontana a couple months later.  One of earliest singles that I bought over at Rock n Bach when they were still on Ellis Blvd in 1982.

2.  After You Came-The Moody Blues (Threshold THS-67009)  1972  B side to Isn't Life Strange and one of many mainstays of songs that continue to be played on a regular basis on my stereo, I still believe this is one of the heaviest songs that The Moodys ever did, including the fadeout jam at the end to which Justin Hayward turns up the guitar and just rocks out.

3.  Shake-Otis Redding (Volt 45-149)  1967  B side to You Don't Miss Your Water, this is an edited live version which is on the Stax/Volt Revue In London Volume one that did managed to make its way to CD.  Back in the days of my youth, Mom bought this along with a few other oddities at the old Ben Franklin in Nevada years ago when we lived there.  Playing the 45 and hearing the horns and the MGs tear it up for the first time really turned this 1st grader's world upside down.  You young people of today don't know what you're missing when back in my days discovering a 9 cent 45 could change your perception of music too.  Sam Cooke wrote it and although the Otis studio version was so so, the Live In London blows all versions away. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hjxar1ErDC0

4.  Masquerade-Joe South (Fairlane 45-21010)  1961  B Side To I'm Sorry For You  This week we lost Joe South from a heart ailment who was 72 and best known for Games People Play and writing Rose Garden for Lynn Anderson to which Joe could live off the royalites and not have to work too hard but years ago at the old hardware store up in Marion, I found this record and got it on name association.  It seemed to be the way to go.  Basically it's hard to tell if this was the A side or I'm Sorry For You was, I'm guessing the latter since You Tube doesn't have this song up anywhere.  Joe South was one of the best songwriters of my generation and was part of the Lowery Music Group for most of his years.  It's a great record but sadly I didn't take good care of this record since it looked like I left it out in the road and been trying for years to find a another copy but failing badly.  But did find a best of that had this song at Record Collector.

5.  Jive Samba-Cannonball Adderley Sextet  (Riverside RF-4541)  1963  B Side To Lillie, A 2:!8 edit of a jam session that goes over 10 minutes on the live album.  The single version is basically the last part of the song which it starts up around the 8 minute mark.  Since this is a jazz single it could have been the A side (see the forth song of this blog) but I liked it fine.  Another record that has seen better days and has a GD crack in it!  Before 1973 I never did take good care of my 45s.  But then again I wasn't the record collecting hoarder that I am today. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFK4tfQX9Ho

6.  Barefootin'-Brownsville Station (Big Tree BT 16011) 1973  B side to Smokin In The Boys Room.  And I enjoyed this song better than the hit.  A cover of the Robert Parker hit, Brownsville actually played this on their 1979 tour opening for Blue Oyster Cult.  Had a neighbor that was related to Cub Koda and he was kind enough to give me a free autographed copy of Yeah in the process.  Great guy and he wrote a column for Goldmine for years.  Sadly he passed away in 2000.

7.  Stand Back-The Allman Brothers Band (Capricorn CPR-0014)  B Side to One Way Out.  In my first trip ever to Arizona in 1982 we stopped at some forgotten record store and bought a stack of 45s and walked back 2 miles in the 110 degree heat to my Aunt's house, hoping that the records didn't turn into soup or warped which a couple did died in the process.  Off Eat A Peach one of a few 8 Tracks that I still have in the junk room.  I don't play 8 tracks anymore, don't have a player.  Anyway Stand Back did get some airplay on the FM dial a couple times and not sure if the DJ was our good friend Bobby Dorr.  If he wasn't with KFMW or Old Gold 108 at that time then it was somebody else. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Qme1iE5smc

8.  51st Anniversary-Jimi Hendrix (Reprise 0572) 1967  B side to Hey Joe and a long time ago this record had the original picture sleeve which got thrown away and been kicking myself ever since.  A collector's item now but Mom got it for 9 cents in Nevada at the Ben Franklin Store. Picture sleeve is right here but doubt if I will spend 500 bucks for another copy of it  http://www.45cat.com/record/0572
Back then, nobody in Nevada knew much about Jimi Hendrix but this record was another life changing event for myself that when I did save up enough money to go buy more 45s, I would try to find Hendrix's 45s and did come up with two others, Up From The Skies and All Along The Watchtower when we moved to Webster City but I'm thinking the Arlen's there in Fort Dodge had the latter, or was it Wells?  Hey Joe was a fun song but 51st Anniversary got played more on my player.  Took them years to put it on a CD, first on Smash Hits and then it would rejoin the rest of the tracks that became Are You Experienced?  Alas, the copyright folks have been out, links to this song on You Tube have been taken down.

9.  Mystic Mr. Sam-The Four Seasons (Warner/Curb WBS 8203)  B side to Sliver Star.  The 4 Seasons were never really one of my favorite bands of the 60s outside of Opus 17 (Don't You Worry About Me) and the B side Beggar's Parade but my folks liked them enough to buy  their strange alter ego band The Wonder Who with Lonesome Road and a Pickwick budget live LP but I had enough interest of them to buy the 1976 Who Loves You album featuring the overplayed title track and even more overplayed Oh What A Night but nobody payed much attention to the third and final single Sliver Star which was my favorite track off that album although we got a edited 45 version later on.  The B side Mystic Mr. Sam is not your typical Frankie Valli and that's right, he doesn't sing on it .(Don Ciccone does). Still, this makes Who Loves You the last great Four Seasons album although it does lets you know this came from the mid 70s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2JMAqNYzOU

10.  Hey Hey What Can I Do-Led Zeppelin (Atlantic 45-2777) 1970  Why this was left off Led Zeppelin 3 is still beyond me, it would have added to the plus to the A grade that I gave that album.  Of course this gets plenty of airplay on the rock radio stations be it classic and modern rock and still sounds fresh today as it did back then as a forgotten B side to Immigrant Song.  Even Hootie And The Blowfish did a nice version of this (stop laughing). It probably would have made a great ending to LZ 3 or at least have it after Hats Off To Roy Harper which might the most strangest thing Plant and Page ever came up.  But back then anything found on record from Led Zeppelin was a major find, including going through each and every one of the 4 for a dollar 45s at the downtown Woolworths to claim a copy.   Oh for the days of Woolworths and the cheap 4 for a dollar single again.  Some things the internet just can't replace.

Disclaimer: all links are to You Tube video of said songs and the majority of them can be found there.    Everything applies under the fair use moniker and Crabby mentions the links for your listening pleasure. The singles going steady series has been a labor of love.  We'll see where the next installment leads.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Top Ten Of The Week-New Bo Weekend


 Last month we set another record for viewers in the month with over 2300 and over a thousand for the Brains blog which continue to get more readers or perhaps more paddlers to pad on the big lead it has over the Brian Howe Bad Company blog to which Mr. Howe and his Bad Company band will be playing in Waterloo at the National Cattle Congress with the no original members left of Molly Hatchet (unless Dave Hlubek is still there since he's the last remaining original member left in the Bobby Ingram led band).  Labor Day also gave us Night Ranger and Boston playing at the Casino at Tama/Toledo but I didn't go to that, going instead to watch the Cedar Rapids Kernels conclude their season with a 10-3 blowout by Clinton Lumberkings who hit 5 HRs today.


Sunday was spent down at the New Bo Festival watching a band called Revival doing a pretty good job doing jam songs and the big guy doing some scatting (or rapping) to music.  They later came back with two women and calling themselves something else and played way till after the sun went down.  I spent time going to and from across the street at Chrome Horse listening to Lipstick Trace some chick hair metal led band playing loud and noisy and then it was Free Fall, a Tom Petty Tribute band to which the band did a good job creating the old Petty hits but the Petty wannabe singer had a cold and didn't exactly sound like Petty.  After three songs I moved on to other things.  http://www.newbofest.com/

Hard to believe that this is the last official weekend of summer, although it seems like I did more this year than in previous years. From Los Lobos, to REO/Micky Thomas, Kentucky Headhunters and assorted free shows around the area I managed to get out to enjoy.  I did miss out on Tommy Roe in Dubuque and didn't get much notice on the Boston/Kansas show in St Louis but maybe next time I'll make an attempt to see them next summer.

In the meantime, Arizona 30 is coming in a couple weeks and I'm still working on details on where I'll be going but it looks like a trip to Las Vegas for the first time since 2006, with stops in Kingman, Lake Havasu City and perhaps Flagstaff although Tucson won't be the place of destination since it's further south.

You couch potatoes in the Anamosa neighborhood will be happy to know that Divorce Court has returned to the 11 30 AM slot after Judge Alex and at noon Judge Joe Brown takes over that spot over Swift Justice which got canceled as far as I know.  You get two hours of the People's Court before Steve Wilkos which slides into Maury.  By then it's either Judge Judy or better yet moving on to other things or for my case at work.  Ricki Lake returns on the other channel if anybody gives a shit.  Some do.

Link of the day: http://www.themortonreport.com/features/new-music-for-old-people/  Al Kooper, former wonder producer writes his own top ten on the Morton Report with a more eclectic collection of music than myself.  He knows a few things.

I'll be working on a couple things before taking a break but if I plan them out right, it will look like I haven't missed a beat.  And I'm still rocking out the Top Ten Of The Week.  Hopefully it will be worth about 25 visits from my devoted faithful following.

1,  Travelin Man-Lynyrd Skynyrd 1997  Through the magic of tape and might we get the last recording of Ronnie Van Zant singing with Johnnie which turns out the be the highlight of the forgotten Twenty album.  I'm not sure if Ronnie, had he lived would be very comfortable working the Tea Party Politics that the Skynyrd dudes are into today but still their latest Last Of A Dyin Breed is good listening, if the politics don't taint the music if you're a flaming liberal (like me).

2.  I'll Fly Away-The Konnoy Sisters & Erik Darling 1956   Folk music that got a big boost when this track was used for O Brother Where Art Thou movie although John Henry aka T Bone Burnette got Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch to redo it for the soundtrack and bluegrass was once again in style for a few years. Rykodisc quietly put out the Konnoy Sisters/Erik Darling album without much fanfare.

3.  Don't Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock And Roll-John Baldry 1971  This month's guilty pleasure comes from this song from It Ain't Easy, an album that side 1 was produced by Rod Stewart and the second side by Elton John.  Baldry was a journeyman blues player that had a minor hit with Let The Heartaches Begin which was more pop based than blues.  Back then, Stewart had a great band backing him up, Ronnie Wood on guitar and Mickey Waller playing drums, a very unappreciated drummer who throws a sloppy beat and Wood adding drunken slide guitar and Madeline Bell screaming them out on backing vocals.  Beaker Street used to play this song a lot but I was more familiar with the one by Crow that had a regional hit in 1970.

4.  Willie The Wimp-Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble  1986  You hardly hear this on the radio anymore but it remains one of my fave SRV songs ever made.  Jimmy Vaughan guest stars on guitar.

5.  I Know I'm Losing You-Rare Earth 1970  There are three different variations to this song, one is the well known 3:38 single version that we all grew up with, the second was the 11 minute freakout version that made it to Ecology album and the other night I played the 14 minute version to which woke my brother up.  Norman Whitfield may have been one of the more ingenious producers Motown ever produced but I think he never got more metallic than this tune for Rare Earth.


6.  Why Don't Cha-West, Bruce & Laing 1973  Or Mountain with Jack Bruce filling in for Felix, WBL was the offshoot of Mountain and made two albums of varying degree, the first being the better of the two although I never heard the second album at all.

7.  Miss You-Dani Wilde 2010  From the Ruf label of Blues Ladies, Dani Wilde is the more wild singer, playing more like Susan Techesdi hot (rather than Janis) to Samantha Fish's Bonnie Raitt cool and getting old time blues vet Mike Vernon to produce her 2010 album Shine an album that was in the racks at Half Priced Books for so long and they couldn't sell it so they threw it in the two dollar bins.  This is her cover of the Rolling Stones 1978 hit.  Dani tends to not vary her voice all that much on Shine and the album kinda blurs around the edges.  In the end, not bad but not something that would be in heavy rotation here.

8.  Quinn The Eskimo-Bob Dylan 1970  Ah Self Portrait, an album that critics have called the worst Dylan album ever till The Budokan Fiasco came out 9 years later.  Myself, I actually liked the album a bit more than Blonde On Blonde (!) but then again I always liked it when Dylan threw curves.  Vocalwise I'm thinking it came around Nashville Skyline and he had the band backing him up on this song.  Backlash was so damn strong that Dylan turned around and gave us New Morning.  But then again Bob Dylan does things his own way, that's why I always look forward to the next project or bootleg series.  New album next week kiddies.  Look for a comment about that whenever I get a copy.

9.  Cold Sweat-The Boneshakers 1997  Sweet Pea Atkinson hooks up with guitarist Randy Jacobs on a cover of James Brown in a way that Stevie Ray Vaughan would have tackled it.  Atkinson is better known as one of the singers for Was (not was) and formed the Boneshakers while Don Was was doing production and David Was taking time out.  Made two albums for the Virgin Blues based Pointblank label.  Looking at this list I didn't intend this top ten to be so blues based but that's how it turned out this week.  Who knows what is planned for next week.

    (new picture replaced the original)


10.  The Way I Walk-Jack Scott 1959  Jack hardly gets any credit for the development of rock and roll in the late 50s, better known as doing the heartbreak ballads like Burning Bridges or What's In The World Come Over You or My True Love but to me Scott absolutely kills it on the rockabilly rock outs.  I don't he ever topped this song in terms of toughness, and even The Cramps covered Way I Walk.   But as they say always imitated but never duplicated this was and still remains Jack Scott.  Bow down Jann Wanner.

Five more that are so good that I had to repost them again (they appeared on previous top tens)

Black Metallic-Catherine Wheel 1991
Wrong-Train Hits Truck 1994
Cold Gin-KISS 1974
She's 22-Norah Jones 2012
Christmas Lights-John Moreland & The Red Dirt Souls 2012