Monday, September 30, 2013

Revisiting In Utero-The 20th Anniversary Edition By Ken Da Dude

I don't know if I'm just 'bored and old' but the new remixes don't do much for me. I do notice slight differences between the 2013 mix and the old - mainly the former cutting unnecessary bits like the first few seconds of cough and preparation by Kurt before "Pennyroyal Tea", and some tracks having cleaner transitions into the chorus. 

But I'm a 90's child, and I clearly remember purchasing this album on cassette (sue me, I was a late bloomer to CD's), and I recall worshiping the suggested EQ volume recommendation on the inner sleeve in attempt to impress my neighbor, Tammy, an 80's hair-metal female rocker chick, whom I now consider to be the godmother of my everlasting love for rock music. Also Gary, who was my next door neighbor, a headbanger dude with long hair, who was a die-hard fan of Nirvana; and cried when Kurt has passed.

Did it work? I doubt it. But it doesn't matter now because I realize how pathetic I was, trying to fit in with their taste. Legendary music should reflect your ever-changing mood, somehow charge your energy, and blow the mind beyond the limit. As pathetic as that might sound, all I can do now is thank them for introducing me to the genre of 'rock'.

In summary, reissues seems like a good concept at first. But most of the the time it is done with a hardly noticeable change and seems nothing but for monetary gain.

I leave with you a famous quote: "If it ain't broken, don't fix it."

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Top Ten-Cover Me

After ten years of blogging and putting up top ten songs that I have been playing, this week we're going to do things a bit different.  This week we are going to do a top ten of Cover versions of songs that you know so well about.  After all we all grew up listening to certain songs and some to the point that I actually covered them in various bands myself.  On the latest Townedgers album 30, we actually do a very nice cover of Bob Dylan's All Along The Watchtower even to the point that I think the TEs did it better than the over the top version that U2 gave the world on the Rattle And Hum album, something that the Hoarder Hound bought when there was nothing else to get for a free CD from the poor selection of FYE Moline.  Of course our last top ten The Fireballs What I Am was a covered and was a minor hit for Tommy James and The Shondells and through the magic of XM radio and 60s on 6 became the first time I heard that song played on the radio in about 4 decades.  AM 740, the oldies station from Canada also rocked my word by playing a lot of obscure 60s stuff that no Cumulus/Clear Channel would touch.  In today's radio world, the best stations are online or satellite radio for the price of new cd, you can get a month's worth of forgotten favorites and all the Pink Floyd and Grateful Dead you can handle but for myself I wish the folks at Deep Tracks would just spin Pink Floyd off to their own channel and open up the vaults of the forgotten.  At least they played some obscure Savoy Brown for a change before moving to something from Animals.  Don't get me wrong, I like Pink Floyd and have a few of their albums here, but I don't love them to the point that I have to hear them every single day.  I grew up in a world of variety and plenty of it.  But even after a while my favorite XM Radio station will tend to play their tried and true, which in that case, I either push a button to another station or stuff a CD into the player.

But in order to win me over, you have to dig deep into the archives for the hard to find and sometimes a great cover version of a song remade for the new generation.  And with the hope that if you like the cover, you'll go look for the original version.  So let's see what's cooking for cover classics this week.

1.  Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl-Peter Wolf  1990  Originally done by the Barbarians and written by Doug Morris who went on to bigger things in the music industry.  Peter Wolf, the J Geils Band singer moved on to a solo career that had its up and downs and this was the B side to 99 Worlds which stumbled up to number 78 on the charts.  But I'm sure you never heard of Wolf's version since it was a B side only and not on his sole MCA LP.  Doesn't vary much from the Barbarians version even with it's dated 90's production but it's more closer to the rock sounds of early J Geils.  A shame it didn't make the album.

2.  I Fought The Law-The Clash 1979  This is one song that you cannot mess up and perhaps the most perfect song that Bobby Fuller ever wrote and of course it's been covered many a time, Hank Williams Jr had a hit with it in 78.  But The Clash bring punk rock and garage rock together on this in you face add on the 1979 S/T album that Epic in the US finally put out (with a few more variations).

3.  Summertime Blues-The Who 1970  Many a cover version has appeared and at around that time Blue Cheer turned their amps up to 11 and blasted away but for me the best version came from The Who and the classic Live At Leeds, one of the all time best live albums ever.  The Who made an attempt to do a studio version of this (later issued on the revamped Odds And Sods) and it was okay but nothing compares to the live version of this to which I wore the grooves off my 45.

4.  The Weight-The Staple Singers 1968  Sometimes I overlook the R and B acts that I grew up listening to, plenty of Otis Redding and Sam and Dave and of course Sam Cooke, then you Arthur Lee and Love and Jimi Hendrix and of course Mothers Finest but outside of a handful of rising stars (Black Joe Lewis) a lot of black people would rather be thugs or rappers a far cry from the soul music of the 70s and the likes of Isaac Hayes, Rick James and many many others.  The Staple Singers to me was one of the best crossover acts, going from gospel to rhythm and blues and their Stax best of is required listening.  Certainly Aretha Franklin does a fine version of this but The Staples' version will blow you away.

5.  I Heard It Through The Grapevine-CCR  1970  Believe it or not this actually came out as a single version in 1976 which by then they were no more but a reminder on how great they made radio with their songs and extended jams.  But even all the good times couldn't hide the acrimoniousness that both John Fogerty and the CCR rhythm section vowed to never work again together.  But both John and Doug and Stu continue to prop up tribute albums to their sounds, John getting guest stars on his latest and the other guys as CC Revisited.

6.  Cry One More Time-Gram Parsons 1972  While people continue to sing the praises of Mr. Parsons, I pick and choose the best ones, Sweetheart Of The Rodeo and Gilded Palace Of Sin are his legacies and his solo albums have been dust collectors on my shelf but while trying to compile a covers list, I was pointed out to this cover of a J. Geils Band number that is on The Morning After.  Which proves that Gram also knew a great song to cover as well as write them.

7.  Come On Let's Go-The Paley Brothers 1979  Featuring The Ramones in the background off the Rock and Roll High School album.  If you like good power pop, Real Gone Music has reissued The Paley Brothers Sire album and worth a listen.

8.  Louisiana  Rain-Samantha Fish 2011  In putting together this top ten it was noted that I haven't put anything from the 2000's onward, like I said, not an oversight, just that a lot of the good covers came from the 60s or 70s.   Samantha does a pretty good cover of this Tom Petty number that you don't hear much on classic rock radio although it's off Damn The Torpedoes.   Still waiting for our local store to have the latest album, or if Half Priced Books had finally gotten a promo copy in, since they have been good at getting stuff from Ruf Records in as promos.

9.  Me And The Boys-Dave Edmunds 1981 Dave actually makes this NRBQ cover a lot more hard rocking if you can believe that.

10.  Money Changes Everything-Delta Moon 2007  If you've been following me here in this blog and elsewhere you know how much I love the first Brains album and been trying to get it reissued in one way or another, finally converting a cassette copy over to CD.  I always thought that the cassette sound version was a bit louder than the album itself.  For many a year and time the Brains blog has been the number 1 most viewed blog I had up till the last couple months which it has kinda died off and maybe wondering whoever had the link up on their site got taken down or what have ya.  Cyndi Lauper covered it and kept the memory alive of Tom Gray who continues to work under the Delta Moon banner and making fine albums on their own.  He decided to revisit the song and reconstruct it in a more straight forward southern rock mode.  Still stands to me as a cover.

Elsewhere:  You gotta hand it to Jack White to keep the legacy of the blues alive and this time out has taken on a role of preserving the history of Paramount Records, the late 20's label coming from the major record company of the Wisconsin Chair Company. JSP Records really did a fine job issuing some of the old Paramount 78s into a couple of 4 CD box sets. Teaming up with Reverent, White and Third Man will issue a massive 6 LP set called The Rise And Fall Of Paramount Records next month.  Plenty of folk recorded for Paramount back then, from Louis Armstrong to King Oliver to Blind Blake to Blind Lemon Jefferson and plenty more.

Not enough toes left to shoot off department:  I noticed that Best Buy has raised the price on most of the 4.99 CDs which makes no GD sense whatsoever.  Not sure why the majors decided to raise the price but it's generally agreed that most of us already have those CDs in our collection anyway.

And so it goes.

Pat Gallagher is out as Station Manager at Triple M in Madison, sounded like he was forced out from Corporate Shenanigans (FU Entercom).

Passings: Tommy Wells, Nashville session drummer who you can hear on the Foster And Lloyd hit single Crazy Over You, he was 62.   And Brian Flugge, who isn't in the music business but one of the best plumbers that I knew of.  He owned Reagens' (I probably spelled it wrong) Plumbing and Heating and died of a sudden illness at age 40. Too young to die.

As for myself, I've been keeping a low profile the past week from a  high shoulder muscle spams that makes it hard for me to be at the computer for more than 5 minutes.  Don't know what the fuck I did but I have been in pain all fucking week despite going to the doctor twice.  If I could I would have sacrificed myself in order to let somebody like Brian Flugge live longer.  But sometimes life isn't fair and the good die young anyway.  On the plus side, the Crabb site has passed 2,000 views.  Guess we're extended the good fortune for another month eh?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Singles Going Steady Part 14-Finds From Davenport

I don't expect people to really seek out the forgotten 45s of the past but since I'm so good at finding them, I figured it was time to bring you another edition of the award winning series of the 7 inch platters of long ago and far away.  And ya know, 45's from 50 years ago and beyond, some still sound as good as ever, provided that they been taken care of.  I'm often asked what provokes me into seeking these things out in the first place, and I guess it's a odd way of me of reconnecting with the past and making a beeline to the record section at the old Arlan's or Woolworth's and even K Mart, now that they are closing the one in town.  I still have some 45s that I got for 67 cents up there for the top 30.  But that was so long ago, KMart quit selling them about 20 years ago.  The uniqueness of making trips to malls with Sam Goody or Musicland and their big collection of 45s but in reality, I kinda quit buying them around 1985 since the record plastic made was recycled and it has a shitty sound and poor life if you played the record too much.

And for about 15 years I didn't buy much vinyl, since I was into CDs, a reversal that I did when I proclaimed in 1987 that I would never buy those overpriced CDs whatsoever but the Direct Metal Mastering vinyl of the late 80s was so distorted and crappy sounding, that I decided that perhaps it was time to get into the now.  But since buying a Technics Turntable at Best Buy in 2004 that I begin to once again started buying vinyl records from the cheap bins or what was at The Salvation Army or Goodwill.

I used to report of what I found for 45s at Half Priced Books, then all of a sudden the hoarder in me started buying them all over again and most of the recent stuff that I found have been jukebox copies and a lot of them I donated back since they were too scratchy.  Last year 2012 turned out to be a banner year of finding 45s that I didn't take much stock of this year, and most of the time Goodwill or The Salvation Army was hit and miss, or somebody bought a box of records in, without sleeves and most looking like they got picked off the interstate.  I don't usually buy those although a couple years ago I picked up a G- 45 of Link Wray's Jack The Ripper as a curio or as I call them a reference copy, meaning a record so badly damanged you only get it for looks or frame it.   But on my weekend getaway to the Quad Cities, I figured I pay a visit to the Salvation Army and see what they had.  And Davenport store had a few interesting things in the bins, all had record jackets and even one was a 29 cent special from Sutton Records, some outlet that specialized in records off the charts and nobody wanted.  Even back in the 60s I knew what to look for and still have my well worn copies of Jimi Hendrix, Steppenwolf and The Doors.  And many many others.

So here we are again folks, you get to hear me toot my horn on the latest installment of 45s found at Davenport and some from the Mad City excursion.

1.  The Doctor-Doobie Brothers 1989 (Capitol B-44376)  Amazing how well and how high this record charted in 1989, it reached number 9 and had that guitar hook that let you know it was the Doobies, somewhat like a rewrite of China Grove but it still remains a fun listen all through these years.  They had this on the jukebox at that time and I'd play it a few times, it even was heard at DeSoda's the old meet market that I used to hang out at around 1990.  Sad to say that Cycles, the album it came from, the rest of the songs were kinda bland and forgettable. Brotherhood, the followup LP was a little bit better.

2.  My Ship Is Comin' In-The Walker Brothers 1966 (Smash S-2016)  Sandwiched between their biggest hits Make It Easy On Yourself and The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore was this record that made it to number 63 on the chart.  The Walker Brothers are the UK's answer to The Righteous Brothers and although critics fall over themselves to praise Scott Walker and his albums after The Walker Brothers broke up, I find his stuff a bit bombastic and pompous as well.  Don't recall ever hearing this on the radio although this song isn't bad.

3.  Disappear-INXS 1990 (Atlantic 7-87784)  The last of the top ten hits for this band, this made number 8 on the charts.  I actually like their earlier stuff better than the late 80 hits (The One Thing and Don't Change are still awesome) which Mike Hutencene was trying his best to be Mick Jagger Jr.  Thought that Kick was overrated but thought X was better.  But I think I was in the minority of that one.

4.  Ohio-Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (Atlantic 45-2740) 1970  I'm sure this was a single that I overlooked while going to the record stores of yore but found this at the St Vincent De Paul Thift Store in Madison last month.  Of course some dipshit ended up putting a damn drill bit hole on the record right before the beginning of this song (when you bought those cheap records from Woolworth's back then, usually the drill hole was on the label itself) but there's a way to position the needle so you don't hit the hole.  The 45 mono mix of this song is not all that great sounding, the vinyl LP was better but this remains one of the most powerful songs that Neil Young ever written.  Of course, my old bar band Paraphernalia used to play this live when we played live....which wasn't too often but I thought we did a nice version although the arrangement was way too short and not enough jamming, but enough of me.

5.  Oh My Surprise-Batdorf & Rodney (Atlantic 45-2850)  1971  I came across John Batdorf on my old My Space site and he was bombarding me to listen to his music even though I have no connection to any major label, hell I was just a music collector with an eye for the lesser known.  Nevertheless his solo stuff is quite listenable but I kinda forgotten him over the years since I don't do My Space anymore since the fuckers deleted all of my blogs over there.  But I have found his albums with Mark Rodney on various labels (Arista, Atlantic, Asylum to which the Asylum and Atlantic albums got reissued via Collector's Choice but now are out of print and command big bucks).  Their first album on Atlantic is typical folk rock of that era and a bit uneven, I do like the Asylum album a lot and the Arista album isn't too bad either although I don't believe it's on CD but the LP is easy to find.  Oh My Surprise was one of the highlights of the Atlantic album and the only time I found it on 45 is when I bought it.  Didn't chart.

6.  Warmed Over Kisses (Left Over Love)-Brian Hyland (ABC Paramount 45-10359)  1962  Another Brian Hyland ABC single that followed me home (as did Ginny Come Lately or for that matter The Joker Went Wild although I may have misplaced that single) he was a teen idol of sorts but made some decent music.  And of course has this distinction of having all of his labels from the past (Kapp, ABC, Phillips, Dot, Uni) fall under the banner of Universal, the evil empire record label everybody hates. This made it to number 25 on the charts and the last top 20 for ABC Paramount for Brian.  Dave Edmunds does a more cool rockabilly like number with this song I want you to know.

7.  The Captain Of Her Heart-Double (A&M AM 2838) 1986  A one hit wonder in 86, this reached number 16 but it really sounded cool on the radio back then.  The album was soft rock okay but somebody offered me 20 bucks for the CD.  So I took him up on his offer.

8.  Same Old Reason-Serendipity Singers (Phillips 40236)  1965  As a kid a long time ago, I was subjected to many types of music, some good, some great and some WTH were we thinking?  I suppose you can throw this folk chorale under the third example although I still find  Don't Let The Rain Come Down a guilty pleasure if the earworm of that song isn't eating away my brains.  In some ways, they were a more square version of the New Christy Minstrels but this song is something that a Gordon Lightfoot would have sang, it's pretty dark in nature and leaves you hanging at the end.  Another picture sleeve 45 of the past that I thought was worth preserving as a dust collector around here.  Didn't chart.

9.  Time And Again-Baxter Robertson (Atco 7-99277)  1988 For a relative unknown on the 45's market, Baxter Robertson has been a regular of sorts here in Singles Going Steady and the sole one returning from the last SGS series 1.3.  Somewhat of a new wave artist (I think), this was the second single from his Atco album Mere Mortals another dollar CD find.  Maybe someday I'll write a blog celebrating the life and times of this forgotten 80s artist if there's enough general interest.  Of course, this song didn't chart, why'd ya ask?

10.  Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye-The Vogues (Reprise 909)  1970  In the archives of what the hell happened to them, The Vogues had some nice pop rockers in You're The One and of course the garage rock Five O Clock World (although The Vogues were more pop vocal than rock when I think about it) but  when they arrived on Reprise, they ventured into The Lettermen territory with Dick Glasser picking the songs and Ernie Freeman arranging them.  Outside of the Five O Clock World, I have little use for The Vogues and the middle of the road muzak of Turn Around Look At Me or My Special Angel or Till but since this is a Leonard Cohen written song and it was on a 45 that was in presentable condition I figured it would be worth a listen and I think they did a good job covering this with Artie Butler's tasteful arrangement.  Record buyers didn't share that opinion, this record didn't chart, but it does close out on the CD version of Best Of The Vogues to which I'll leave that up to you dear reader to listen on your own time.  B Side is Over The Rainbow, a song that I couldn't finish listening to.  Not my idea of rock and roll. or muzak for that matter.

As always, chart positions of songs are used from this site:

45 single photos are from 45. Cat or Music Stack.