We're in the middle of August already and the sun is setting more and more earlier than the previous week. I love this time of year, the rains hold off, the butterflies and dragonflies are out and about and soon football season will start. The big news is that I got Alex from Ice Road Truckers as a follower of my tweets. I guess that means I better clean up my act eh? Got to chat with him during last week's episode and he's is the nicest guy and celebrity that I have ever met. On another note, Chris Brown suffered a seizure which became the talk of the town in Twitter land.
Falling off the mountain into the valley, where did all the readers go? I guess the true ratings are showing that we may not even clear 2,000 views much less 3 thou, much much less thinking of 4000. Hell at the halfway point, I'm barely over 900 views. Last time I have 100 or more views in a day was August 2 and after the 6th, best day was 58 views! Most viewed top ten? Sting Ray Bikes Are Go from May, better than the last three top tens put together. Ivy Doomkitty is the most searched word for here (imagine that) but one of the search terms is top ten Russian Porn Babes in 2013?!?! Could have swore this was a music and review guide with a slant on the cute, but I never mention anything about Porn babes (that'll be another most searched term for here), or Miranda Lambert naked, which got searched here three times as well. Any special interest blogs here hardly get viewed like the last blog which managed to total 12 views since I wrote it on Friday. In the words of the late Mark Lasick, You're on your own, and it feels like it.
Bitch bitch bitch. First up from Chris Stapleton (not Singleton stupid) who took exception to Tom Petty's off the cuff remark about country music is like bad rock with fiddles, challenges Petty that he'll help him write a country album. Thought Petty did that with parts of the album Wildflowers. Singleton's impressive resume shows he had songs covered by George Strait, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney (see the pattern here?), Darius Rucker and many other of the new country generation. I suggest if Petty really want to do a country album to look up Steve Earle or Willie Nelson, even Guy Clark. Kacey Musgraves and Vicky McGehee if you wanted a female point of view. Oh, and leave the faux pas Banjos, fiddles and steel guitar out of this. No Autotuner or the wackoffs who wrote Cruise http://news.radio.com/2013/08/12/tom-petty-to-write-country-songs-chris-stapleton-says-hell-help/
Speaking of country: http://www.farcethemusic.com/2013/08/sheryl-crow-honest-radio-promo-ad.html?m=0
Bitch bitch bitch part 2, Sammy Hagar continues to whine and cry about Van Halen. He never leaves it alone even if he's promoting the new album or what Chickenfoot is doing. Bitching about David Lee Roth, bitching about Van Halen, never want to play with them ever again bla bla bla. Enough Sammy although I think the Rolling Stone douchebag egged him on. David Lee Roth has been the oil to Sammy's water and they clashed even on that whatever the hell they did together when Van Halen 3 was limping around half filled arenas. Would have been nice to have Diamond Dave on your new tribute album but that's life. And I can really really live without hearing Margaritaville ever again in this lifetime (although I have a better chance at winning the lottery more than never hearing that song on the radio in this lifetime ever again). BTW, the Van Hagar era is over, it has been since Balance. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/q-a-sammy-hagar-on-new-album-and-re-tarnishing-van-halen-20130812
Jody Payne and Eydie Gormé have departed from this world. Jody being the right hand man for Willie Nelson and Eydie with Steve Lawrence were popular in the 60s. Dramarama wrote a song called Steve N Eydie years ago. I will have to find that one to play for the next R Smith Show on Radio Crabbland. Also going to the other side, is Cowboy Jack Clement and Tompall Glaser. It's been a busy day for the departing this week. I'm sure more will follow as the days come.
Hoarder house of hits: No this is not my house, it's not that bad (yet)
Your top ten is as follows
1. Action Girl-The Litter 1966 Most of last week at work I was going through both box sets of the Nuggets series that Rhino put out and yes both box sets are bloated with too much filler that would have been better at home on the Pebbles Series, to which this song did appear on a Pebbles comp. Kind of a Paul Revere and the Raiders riff it starts out with Hey Miss High And Mighty, one of the more attention getting lyrics in the garage rock era. Still gets played on Little Steven's Underground Garage and if you have that show on your radio dial, consider yourself lucky. In 1990, K-Tel issued Distortions, the Litter's first album on CD. For garage rock it varies from the good (Action Girl) to a sleepy version of Codiene a song that was done better by the Charlatans that did make it on a volume of Nuggets.
2. Sorcerer-Stevie Nicks 2001 For months HP Books had Crystal Visions, The Very Best Of Stevie Nicks in the dollar bins for almost half a year and I'm surprised nobody picked it up. After all it's where you get her hits Edge Of Seventeen, Stop Draggin My Heart Around, as well as Silver Springs, the best song that didn't make Rumours. For a Very Best of, it's uneven, the live version of Rhiannon bombastic as it comes, and other Fleetwood Mac numbers done with other people, for good or bad. The pick of the week comes from Trouble In Shangrala (yeh I know I spelled it wrong and no spell checker can get it right) LP, produced by Sheryl Crow who actually does a good job on this song and doesn't overstep her boundaries. If I find a cheap copy under a dollar I'll listen to it but Stevie's discography tends to be very uneven at best. For me a decent best of will do. And any decent best of must have Silver Springs on it. Such as Crystal Visions.
3. Living For The Depression-Flipper 1981 The ultimate punk song and the ultimate FU as well, this is one minute and twenty two seconds of pure bliss. Love the chorus: Who cares anyway, who listens to what I say, this song rhymes and we play it in time to a rhythm that's about ready to fall off the tracks. And final line, I'm not living life to be... A REAL CHEAP FUCKER LIKE YOU COPOUT!!!!!!!!! (Priceless). Rick Rubin thought so much of this album that he reissued it on Def American, although in later years Water Records took over the reissuing of Generic, their best known and classic album. Their type of music would inspire the likes of The Melvins and to a lesser extent Nirvana. I'm sure the naysayers will say that they didn't. To which they're welcome to the final chorus and tag line of this song.
4. Bear Cat-Rufus Thomas 1953
Boogie Disease-Dr. Isiah Ross 1954
Another box set I was listening to at work was The Ultimate Blues Collection of Sun Records, a 3 CD 75 song set of some of the toughest R and B to come out of Sam Phillips' Sun Studios in the 50s. Bear Cat was Rufus' answer record to Houng Dog, The Big Mama Thornton song that was a top ten R and B hit and even then you could tell Rufus had an eye for the novelty, love the way he was starts out nice and slow like a cat from he does that hiss fit. Thomas would later go on to have more hits for Stax Records in the 60s and 70s and was billed as the world's oldest teenager before passing on in 2001 Isiah Ross, affectionately known as Doctor Ross, recorded mostly for Sun Records as well and had a hit with Boogie Disease. Ross was known as a great one man band, playing guitar and harmonica and playing washboard and he recorded a couple sessions for Chess and Fortune Records before getting a real job. Towards the end of his life he got back into the blues festivals around Europe and the US before passing in 1993 aged 67. Bear Family put out his definite work for Sun and Chess and the Fortune labels last month. A cheaper alternative would be the Arhoolie comp Boogie Disease which came from the Doctor's personal collection. A must hear.
5. You Shout You Shout You Shout You Shout-The Automatic Automatic 2007 They were a Welsh band, they were well known in the UK and had an album out on the states which went to the bargain bins in record time. This song has a nice slam on radio. And of course, you never heard this song before. Neither did I. Till I found it for a dollar at the pawnshop.
6. Nightmares-The Creation 1967 Sometimes in a music world some of the best bands get passed over or become footnotes to rock history which is more and more fading the lesser knowns to the far reaches of the internet. The Creation was the closest band to the sound of The Who but they never sustained a steady lineup. Hardly mention in the US, they were so well liked that Alan McGee named his record company after them. Such a shame that The Creation never got the chance to be remembered. Don't look for asshole Wanner to induct them to "his" rock and roll Hall Of Fame. Came out on Decca 32155 US. And the picture is gone too.
7. Ohio Air Show Plane Crash-Joe Henry 1996 Henry has been too eccentric for even my taste and although he gets plenty of critic love, the public never did and it shows in the dollar bins around this fair country. I had a couple of his CDs on the shelf and the one with The Jayhawks that came out on A&M isn't as good as they would let you think it was. Only CD I go to anymore is his 1996 Trampoline effort featuring Page Hamilton (Helmet) helping out on guitar. That's probably all you need to own too. The rest are luxury albums.
8. Gotta Have You-Eddie Rabbit 1986 Was this his pop rock move? Seems that way after years on Elektra/Warner Brothers Eddie took his music over to RCA to three uneven albums that were part pop and part country and part contemporary. Phil Ramone (Billy Joel) produced this and it featured Billy Joel's drummer on most of that album. Found the album this weekend and played this track and had to quit, my record needle gave out and I was afraid I was going to scratch the rest of the LP. Those with smart assed answers of "that'll improve the album" are excused. ;-)
9. Welcome To The Machine-Queensryche 2007 After listening to their cover album called Take Cover and the past two, it has been concluded that Geoff Tate did take the band in the wrong direction. I'm sure the guys forgave him on some of the songs and this Pink Floyd remake isn't bad considering the source, but covering The Police and Buffalo Springfield was NOT a good idea. Nor was The O'Jays (or Bulletboys). Todd La Torre to the rescue.
10. Eight Miles High-The Byrds 1966 One of many many scratchy records that I bought at Goodwill in town in the 70s (how I missed downtown Marion of that era), this is progressive Byrds at their best and the last to feature Gene Clark too. Roger does Coltrane on his Rickenbacker as a solo in the beginning. For years I thought that was a skip on the 45. Turns out it wasn't.
Science lesson, the science of why today's music sucks: http://www.savingcountrymusic.com/the-science-behind-why-pop-music-sucks
And if anybody read this far down, Jon Brookes was the drummer for the Charlatans UK one of my favorite alternative bands of the 1990s, they started out on the coattails of the Madchester music scene and then became more like The Rolling Stones with a keyboardist in the late great Rob Collins. After Collins tragic accident, The Charlatans made their best album in Telling Stories with Primal Scream's Martin Duffy sitting in and then after that stumbled over themselves making two subpar albums and one that Island in the US never released here Up At The Lake. Last time we heard from them was 2010's Who We Touch, produced by Youth (Martin Glover of Killing Joke). Brookes died from brain cancer at age 44.
For myself, there was two variables that made The Charlatans UK stand out from other bands: one was the keyboard artistry of Rob Collins and the other was the dance beat drumming of Jon Brookes, one part Watts, one part of Moon but with an original style all his own. An original upon himself. RIP.
Five Charlatans songs of note:
Tellin Stories (1996)
The One That I Know (1990)
Come In Number 21 (1994)
Love Is Ending (2010)
(No One) Not Even The Rain (1992)
Reissue: Love-Four Sail 1969
Out of all the Love albums that I have heard, Four Sail remains the least favorite. Even though Elektra cherry picked the best songs (supposedly) the album always suffered a bad mix and indifference, as if Arthur Lee did a first take on all of the songs here. Elektra added some overdubs and crappy reverb to sweeten the sound as well. But for the first time, Four Sail makes it's US debut on CD (Most were imports) and Lee pulls no punches on the jammy whammy August, seems like the drummer and Jay Donnellan were fighting each other to see who can make the most noise here. After the lush songs of their forever classic Forever Changes, Lee came back with a whole new band with an eye and ear toward a sound but in tune with Jimi Hendrix and Cream. Maybe Lee couldn't top the other album, so he just rocked harder than ever before, drummer George Sunanovich, a combination of Keith Moon and Mitch Mitchell bashing the china cymbal all over Singing Cowboy which shines even more in it's 6 minute extended version (as a bonus track along with two other remixes and alt vocal). In the beauty of Forever Changes, Four Sail is the ugly aftermath, to which after a failure at that time, the only thing left to do was rock out. This makes a good companion to the tracks Elektra passed over and Blue Thumb put out as the bloated extension known as Out There. To which Doggone, would have made a excellent ending of Four Sail, had Sunanovich didn't put everybody to sleep on that 10 minute drum solo. (The liner notes said that Signed DC and Doggone were recorded with the rest of the Four Sail album at the same time). For myself, I think that warts and all, Out There was the better of the two, but Four Sail had the best song. In original and extended form.
Pick Hits: Singing Cowboy (extended version) Always See Your Face
RIP-Allen Lanier, guitarist, keyboardist extraordinaire of Blue Oyster Cult. Died from C.O.P.D complications. Smoking pretty much done him in. He sings on True Confessions from Agents of Fortune.