Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Top Ten Of The Week: Circumstances Beyond Control

Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool.- Ecclesiastes 7:9

Don't you think I'd know that by now.  It hasn't been a very good year and even after coming home from a well deserved vacation I was back trying to get the basement in order.  I have gotten worse with my out of control screaming of things that don't work out, be it crappy printers, too much rain or dumb asses on the highway going 90 in the 55 MPH zone.  I haven't paid much attention to the concerts at the fairs this year and Samantha Fish quietly came back to play the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival on Friday Night after she made the announcement earlier in the day on Facebook.  Need better warning, I missed it but if skies stay sunny maybe I'll go see what's at the Iowa City Jazz Festival.  But it was nice of Brittney at Mouse Tracks to play another song off The Townedgers No Exit album.  Diggy on drums here (from his band not the TEs)


The Arizona trip now a distant memory I continue to piece together things that stood out. The CD bargain hunts I managed to find the ones that I was looking for although hearing the whole Soft Machine Third album made me wonder why I bought it in the first place.  It's no Jack Johnson, and the four songs, all over 18 minutes and taking up their sides of the album is a snoozefest if you're not in the mood for it.  My damn CD player at home wouldn't play Saigon Kick's The Lizard on the Atlantic label so I had to hunt and hunt for the Wounded Bird reissue.  Thought I found it here at home but somebody switched CDs.  Something about the feel of the Atlantic CD that the damn cd  player wouldn't play. I could live without The Lizard but the challenge just to see if I could find it in Arizona was too much to ignore. So I found it.

The bizarreness that is the Neil Young/Peter Frampton reviews blog continues to take Sweeden and Russia by storm judging by the 100 plus views and I don't have a clue why that is.  Wish you Foreigners would click on something more recent although I'm certain that it will past the 1,000 views soon, making it the second blog to achieve that feat.  But with the wrong reasons.

I try not to talk politics anymore, I'm basically a flaming liberal but I have not been pleased with the second term of Obama and the continuing stall tactics of the GOP bastards like Turtle Face McConnell or Piss Head Boehner although I am in the minority by thinking our Governor has been doing a good job despite being Terry Branstad.  Better than Scott Walker who continues to throw Wisconsin into the new poverty state and signing unconstitutional crap like this: The link got deleted (imagine that) but they have ruled that Walker can't stop the singalongs in the Capital anymore.  Sing away fellow patriots.

It's tough to be a woman in these states, especially if some old GOP freakball, high on Viagra and Budweiser decides to force himself upon the victim.  If Wisconsin is going to get anywhere or out of the ice age they're in, they're better make Walker a one term Govenor but they continue to make mistakes of keeping the POS Fitzgerald in there in congress too.  But George Carlin is right, your vote doesn't matter, but owning a politician does.  And Sean Hannity and He Man Ann Coulter are the bile of the earth.  Another reason why I have the TV off most of the time.

This top ten of the week focuses on more Arizona finds and other odd ball things that sounded good at the time.  Even for a last one more time jaunt into the desert to find these, I managed to surprise myself.

1. Celery Stalks At Midnight-Will Bradley & Ray McKinley  1940  I was more familiar with the Thad Jones version off the World Pacific Brass Bag jazz album which I had once (arranged by the great Gerald Wilson) but this is the original version that came out on Columbia.  The Bradley/McKinley get together only lasted a couple years but they are one of early pioneers to incorporate boogie woogie into their big band music, better known hits were Down A Road A Piece and Beat Me Big Daddy (eight to the bar).  Another two dollar Half Priced Books selection and one of the reasons why I sing the praises of HP Books.  Their ability to have the obscure and they don't pester you seven times in a store visit (getting the message now Zia's on Oracle Rd in Tucson?).  I get a kick out of this song due to the low trombone riff that sounds like a fart at the beginning and at the end.

2.  Mommy's Little Monster-Social Distortion 1982  Hard to figure out after all these years that Mike Ness would be continuing his little punk band 30 years on down and even back then they owed much to Hank Sr and The Rolling Stones as well as the Clash and Ramones and if it works why change it?  It'd would be a good seven years before the follow up Prison Bound came into stores. But give points to Ness for sticking it out and becoming a legend himself.

3.  The Floppy Boot Song-Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band 1978  After trying his luck and failing to get a radio hit, Don Van Vilet said the hell with that and return back to that bizarro blues mesh that recalls more Lick My Decals Off Baby than Trout Mask but a bit more accessible if you can believe that. While critics fall over themselves calling Trout Mask the classic album,  Lick My Decals Off was the much better of the two, it had a better flow to it rather than Frank Zappa making off and on appearances and he actually got more in the way.  The comeback album Big Shiny Beast (bat chain puller) I would give the one to buy if you really want to know how the good captain operates.  It's "weirdly" great.

4.  Peaches In The Summertime-Camper Von Beethoven 2012  Sometimes I think CVB has stayed long past their expiration date as their latest album proves that when they try to find their weird groove they tend to bore me such as where-are-you-going-with-this Someday Our Love Will Sell Us Out but if they keep it around 2 minutes then I'm interested such as Peaches In The Summertime.  CVB and Cracker was up in Madison the day I did the Mad City getaway and heard them bash away while walking past the Majestic Theater.  Frank Funaro has been doing triple duty of late, playing with the reformed Del Lords while trying to get through the rest of the CVB-Cracker tour.

5.  Out Bloody Rageous-Soft Machine 1970  Hard to figure if these guys are prog rock, fusion jazz or just meddling around.  After two adventurous albums, they signed on to CBS Columbia for a double album of four side long numbers averaging 18 and half minutes to try to test your patience.  There's a 5 minute edit of this song that they put on the budget sampler Different Strokes years ago and it's a better listen.  Miles Davis had better results with the single Jack Johnson Tribute album.  Third is also The Soft Machine mutation into jazz with each later albums.  You're on your own with those.

6.  Sleep/All I Want-Saigon Kick 1992  In the 90s there were two true alternative bands and no Nirvana isn't one of them.  The Pixies was a hard to categorized band whose sounds were quite different than was played on the radio and Surfer Rosa. The other was Saigon Kick, who was marketed as a hair metal band but all of their albums have a twist and turns that go from grunge rock to pop rock to gospel and acoustic  and back to hard rock but all their albums are not the same.  The Lizard was their best selling album but even their label was scratching their heads over Jason Bieler's all over the place songs that reminds me of going up Oatman hill at 90 miles an hour and hoping you don't fly over the edge.  All I Want was two of the mellow tracks that made the charts although this didn't place (Love Is On The Way made it to number 22) this got plenty of airplay and still some on KRNA go figure.  Sleep is an very interesting and cool one minute song of digital delay guitar which leads into All I Want, which may have been a bigger smash had Bieler made some kind of effort to close the song and not leave it hanging like he did.  I like it fine myself.  Wounded Bird reissued this for a short time in 2005.

7.  My Man's Gone Now-Nina Simone 1967  As much as Hastings gets a bad rap (they didn't help themselves closing the Flagstaff store) they tend to have a better selection of budget buys rather than FYE or Zia's in Arizona. Just a small sample of the 3.99 or less stuff found was ELO's On The Third Day, Beck Ola, Miles Davis On The Corner, Mott The Hoople All The Young Dudes and even a couple of the stores had the elusive Traffic When The Eagle Flies.  Basically Sony Music never got over the backlash over the Rootkit problem of 2005 and through out the decade they would continue to put many many albums in the bargain bins of 5 dollars or less but by then it was too late and most everybody under 30 downloads anyway.  Nina Simone started her RCA years by doing a album called Nina Simone Sings The Blues and produced with Nashville schlock master Danny Davis, it's a stripped down affair buoyed by Nina's singing and piano playing.  The Gun Club did a version of this song on The Las Vegas Story years later.

8.  Last Night On Earth-U2 1997  The most important band in your life was never that much to me and although the 90s gave us their finest achievement with Actung Baby! (that's debatable) I tended go with Zooropa for it's oddball attempts of dance music and adding Johnny Cash to sing on one song but the big backlash was Pop which Rolling Stone called one of the worst albums all time (I disagree). It's actually kinda interesting to hear this sort of dance rock but it's no way their all time worst, I think I like Pop more than I did of The Unforgettable Fire (rock radio forever killed off Pride In The Name Of Love and Bad was a bad song) and if I had to choose pick Pop over The Joshua Tree.  Pop was more of a extension of Zooropa heading for the dance floor and you either loved it or hated it.  As for myself I enjoyed it.

9.   Can I Get A Witness-Lee Michaels 1971  One of the more eccentric artists of the classic rock era all but but forgotten now except for his one big hit before this (Do you know what I mean) it was Lee's behemoth drummer that got me wanting to play drums after a whiplash effort on The Music Scene show back in 69 (that drummer went on to form the band Sweathog). Most of the time it would be Lee and a drummer sitting on (this time out Joel Larson from The Grassroots plays drum on said song) and Lee would work his Hammond up to a frenzy.  All of his best ofs are now deleted and all three of them that I know of (Rhino, One Way and Shout Factory) never took a look at his forgotten Columbia period to which he had a very minor 1973 hit with Same Old Song which I'm surprised never made the final cut.  But the album that appeared on Nice Day For Something was even lackluster even by Lee's standards or maybe he don't own the masters like he do with his A & M sides.  Basically retired but even more of a radical, his website pretty much says it all.  Google it up as he would say Do You Know What I Mean. Guy Webster photo credit.

10.  Keep On Trucking-Dave Dudley 1973  The voice of the trucker for many years starting with Six Days On The Road and moving on to this top ten country hit but somehow the cheap fucks at Universal declined to add this to their cheap best of Dave Dudley CD ten years ago, Dave should have been better served with a better comp.  Hell I could do that and even would pay Universal the privilege of doing so, but they can't reissue The Brains first album and since Andy McKie isn't taking any phone calls that's a wasted effort.  What makes Dave Dudley a great country singer was not only he was a good songwriter himself but he also got great songs from the legendary Tom T Hall and whoever was working at Newkeys Music. And Jerry Kennedy was a producer well suited to Dave as well.  However as great the song was, it didn't help sells of the album by taking a bust shot of a woman as a album cover.  Kinda tacky today and Dudley was winding down his career at Phonogram/Mercury later moving over to United Artists and then the minor labels to which he would rework his more famous trucking songs with cheesy dated 80s production.  A sad ending to a mighty mighty man.

Nope I haven't paid much attention to the festivals out around, The Eagles played to a sold out crowd on Summerfest and Des Moines 80-35 festival was this weekend with superstar Justin Bieber playing a show after being late by an hour and 25 minutes (reason given not known but he took a short cut to Chicago for this picture).   Other hard rockers include Wu Tang Clan and Deerhunter.  For the Linn County Fair this year it was a total washout with all the rain outs but Alien Ant Farm and Tracy Lawrence hope to return to play there next permitting of course.

No accounting for taste in country music anymore, Florida Georgia Line Cruise is number 1 for 18 weeks straight, the longest for any song since Leroy Van Dyke's 1961 hit Walk On By.  Which is 18,000 times better than than Cruise featuring Nelly for more star power.  Then again I don't listen to country either unless it's the classic country station 99.3.  But even they have been known for putting Cruise in their playlist if you're not paying attention.

Bubbling under:

Fly Away-Blackfoot 1981
Ships-Barry Manilow 1980
Nobody-Doobie Brothers 1971
Draw The Line-Aerosmith 1977
Bring It On Home-Led Zeppelin 1969

Fly Away actually did fairly well on the charts here Blackfoot being perhaps the hardest rocking southern rock band making two albums for Island and Virgin/Epic that neither label could promote.  The Atco album Strikes remains their best overall, but once Ken Hensley joined them for Siogo sales were less than steller.  Listening to Barry Manilow is guaranteed laughs and ridicule but he did have some interesting songs that did rock out but the over the top production that he did with Ron Dante gave credence to Jim Steinman who as you know helped shaped Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell to record sales although I have never liked that album much. Even in 1980s, Manilow got bored with the same rewrites of I Write The Songs or Mandy and started branching out with a interesting but very dated cover of Ian Hunter's song.  Listening to Barry's Greatest Hits Volume 2, he even works a song with Jim Steinman and had some of Elton John's band playing on that.  For myself the best Manilow song was his new wave sounding Some Kind Of Friend but taken as a whole Greatest Hits Volume 2   is dated wallpaper for background music and really boring.  Nobody was a failed 1971 single that got reissued in 1974 which differs by Tom Johnston's screaming before the first chorus.  But then again classic rock radio doesn't play that song so you don't know what I'm talking about.  And perhaps Draw The Line was the last classic album from Aerosmith, a snapshot of that mountain of drugs and booze making a flawed but honest album of the times.  The single, another forgotten gem that rock radio doesn't play anymore it seems.  Ian Hunter says about Barry's Version of Ships: Mr. Manilow’s version of ‘Ships’ was a lesson on how to make a hit. It helped him as it was the only hit off ‘One Voice’ and it helped me because we were skint at the time.

On Bob Lefsetz's latest blog:  I think he lost it.

Late Add ons:

I need a proofreader.  Mark Prindle replies that  he never said Surfer Rosa was a overrated album, he gave it a 9 out of 10 for God's sake.  I made the observation from a question about overhyped albums from his Facebook site and I mistook it as something else. Maybe something about overhyped albums ever from Spin or Rolling Stone. If I say these things I better write them down or provide a link.  Hell, I keep spinning my tires deeper and deeper in the mud and not getting anywhere.  Mark's Pixie's reviews:

Somebody's idea of overrated albums:

Hick Hop, the sound of sludge taking over country radio:


TAD said...

Hey Crabby: Soft Machine is definitely NOT rock&roll, more like British jazz. I thot THIRD was the biggest piece of crap I'd ever heard when I bought it back in '79 or so ... then realized the themes from "Slightly All the Time" & "Out-Bloody-Rageous" were starting to worm their way into my head. Still think the original LP has the thinnest sound-production I've ever heard. 1970 wasn't that long ago, technology-wise, so I wonder what their excuse was?
The THIRD CD has a bonus disc of live tracks, with some really nice sax from Elton Dean. The original album still sounds thin, but I'm used to it now. Still can't get into Robert Wyatt's silliness on "Moon in June" or the opening 5 minutes of screeching feedback on "Facelift," tho....
Have always liked the Doobies' "Nobody," ever since my local radio played it in late '74 -- it woulda fit right in on WHAT WERE ONCE VICES ARE NOW HABITS....
Great reading, as always. & you may be right about Bob Lefsetz -- when he sticks to his message of Do something great/do something useful/don't chase fame or cash at the expense of all else, I'm with him. But when he goes on&on about how much you need Spotify(?) or whatever, & how important it is to stay cutting-edge, well....

TAD said...

Oh, & I LIKE Dave Dudley's album cover (classic song, too) -- except that her bust shoulda been BIGGER....

TAD said...

WOOF! Good Lord, more of Ivy Doomkitty, PLEASE!

R S Crabb said...

Lefsetz might be considered a Looney Tune from his last blog, I didn't think it was worthy of a link since he's into the latest while I am more content with my outdated media storage like CDs or Albums. Spotify is overrated i think too.

The CD sound of Soft Machine Third is terrible although mine is the US Version without bonus tracks. Agreed that Facelift doesn't get going till the 8 minute mark and Moon In June needs to be edited by about 10 minutes too. Brian Humphries I think recorded that album and his recordings of other bands (Pink Floyd, Kinks and Traffic) are blah at best. I wouldn't say Third is a total waste of time, they were doing something different at the time but not too many folks are going to stick around and listen to 19 minute side long songs or suites or dicking around in this day and age.

Finally Nobody was played on FM radio around 1974 between Another Park Another Someday and Black Water. Their first album is basically acoustic and very good. But i doubt if Spotify will play that album or Nobody anytime soon. TA!

R S Crabb said...

Well, even with that cover shot Dave Dudley's album didn't sell all that great.

And the big difference between me and Mr. Wet Sack Lefsetz, Ivy Doomkitty! Cheers!

Mark Prindle said...

When did I say Surfer Rosa was overrated? I gave it a 9/10.