Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Top Ten: What The.....

What's On The Player This Week?


But first, This Song Sucks, a You Tube series featuring Luke Giordano talking about shitty songs:  A must view.

1.  Fly Me To Havana-The Grassroots 1968   I've been getting a lot of hits on the Rich Rosen and Wax Trax blog so basically I had to check Google to see if something was in the air or something to that effect.  It got me to thinking about Vegas and the next time I'm out there but judging the way things are going here any trip would be by car and forgo the airport.  Last time I went out to Vegas Wax Trax was on the destination list but on the way over, Half Priced Books had about 50 45s to choose from that would have made me taken out a second mortage on the car to pay for whatever Rich had in there.  For Doo Wop Rosen is an expert at that.  Maybe I'll will my collection to him when I go (soon).  Getting back to the song at hand, this was the B side to I'd Wait A Million Years and I always enjoyed the three chord garage rock riff that wasn't like The Grassroots, no horns but plenty of oddball percussion at around the 2 minute mark. In some ways, this sounds like Rock Me by Steppenwolf in the way they did the percussion passage toward the end. Been trying to find a decent copy of this and found a useable one at St Vincent De Paul Thift in Madison last week.  In the meantime, read this about a fellow blogger's misadventures at Record City in Vegas, somewhat like Wax Trax.  I think I drove past Record City when I was in Vegas and didn't think it was worth a trip going in.  My instincts been proven correct.
Hear the song here:

2.  Patch Of Bad Weather-Wade Bowen 2012  No shortage of cheap CDs under a dollar in Madison, and for at the Salvation Army where I found BoDeans Black And White for 32 cents, a bunch of quarter CDs from Pawn America as they're phasing out their CD section but the dollar CD finds at The St Vincent De Paul before closing time proved to be a bounty of Bubba Rock, aka new country artists.  Kix Brooks latest they had 5 CDs up there, he can't get arrested since he and Ronnie Dunn parted ways.  Another Texas singer songwriter is Wade Bowen, whose latest album is produced by Justin Niebank. Saw this at Best Buy and thought about buying it but since it was on the BNA label passed.  But a dollar copy why not?  It's a bit more southern Texas rock and roll than what is country nowadays and Bowen has a voice of his own.  The Given, the album name, isn't eligible for inclusion for this year's best since it was released in May of 2012 but I dig this track, which could pass for rock and roll.  If there's such a thing nowadays.

3.  Only You And Your Ghost Will Know-Mekons 2002   A critics band and a cult following band, they never broke the big time as promised on their Mekons Rock And Roll album of 1989 thereabouts and although I did pony up for Curse Of The Mekons I don't recall much of that album to give it a second thought, it was good but not good enough for me to care.  And nobody really does here in Cowpie Iowa, since their 2002 album Out Of Our Heads (OOOH for short) was dying a horrible death in 2 dollar land at Half Priced Books.  I find it to have a certain charm and most of the songs come back and kick you in the ass when you listen to them again.  On my last trip to the ball park, I played this album and maybe it jinxed the Kernels, they lost the game, but then again maybe I jinxed the Kernels (the A ball team of the Minnesota Twins BTW).  They had the best record in minor league baseball but I saw them three times, they got blown out in both games of a double header during the rainy season, came back to win on a bizarre double and of course the playoff to which after a lead off HR, folded up their tent.  As for the Mekons, OOOH and Rock And Roll are their two best.

4.   House On The Edge Of The Tracks-Mark DeCerbo 1991  In San Diego he's a pop rock icon, outside San Diego an unknown.  One of those 25 cent CDs that I picked up in Pawn America and basically he sounds a bit like Stephen Bishop on one track, Eric Carmen on another and Kenny Loggins and a few others.  CD is best known for the title Baby's Not In The Mood which sounds like the late Alan ODay.  This track is the most hardest rocking. Worth a quarter if you can find it.  Side note:  DeCerbo recorded this for the Bizarre/Straight label after Herb Cohen resurrected it in the early 90s.  In interviews DeCerbo complained that the label hardly promoted his album and he might be right; I've seen this in the cutouts around 92 and selling for 3 bucks at Camelot.  My copy is a promo, with a sticker promoting Anvil Of Love (it's really good).  That was Bizarre's promoting right there on that sticker.

5.  Don't Deserve You-Randy Rogers Band 2013  Another country band that if you take away the fiddle and steel guitars, it's straight ahead Texas rock n roll, although this song really is just about power pop in the chorus.  KHAK actually played something from this album, I think it was Fuzzy, but I know they would never play Don't Deserve You.  Too 38 Special for them.  Another dollar cd promo from our friends at St. Vincent De Paul.

6.  Truckin'-The Grateful Dead 1971   Another 25 cent CD from Pawn America, Skeletons In The Closet was the introduction to The Dead before Rhino flooded the bins of different Best ofs and comps.  Really wished that Pawn America would continue stocking the CD shelves, I miss the days that I could spend three hours sorting through six rows of CDs, now down to a row and a half, and 99 percent of what they have nowadays is junk or scratched up ones.   

7.  Dr. Graffenberg-moe. 1992  moe. (that's the way they spell it on their albums, I checked)  remains one of the more oddball jam bands that the world has known, quirky rhythms, Primus type lyrics, Phish figures into this, so does Blue Oyster Cult, and of course they got plenty of 2 CD sets out there to further annoy the ones that don't get them.  Their first album was called Fatboy and strange it is, but I remember playing this in Madison rush hour traffic and getting a good vibe out of this.  Sony Music thought they could market them but after two albums and a Single CD which included a 45 minute jam song, they threw in the towel.  Their last album for Sugar Hill was their most accessible. But for myself they're always be known for that You Say Potato and I say Three that appeared on the first Sony 550 album.  As for Dr. Graffenberg himself, I'm sure he'd be honored that he had a song named after him.

8.  Going To Birmingham-Ed Roland & Sweet Tea Project 2013  Taking a break from Collective Soul, Ed Roland jams with a bunch of friends and musicians to make what was touted as a country album (?) but to these ears it's actually more of a participation with a couple songs sung by other guys in the band.  Sounds a bit like The Men They Couldn't Hang or close to the Pogues.  I always liked Collective Soul even after everybody got off the bus and almost put this back on the shelf when I saw a promo of this at the Mad City HP Bookstore.  Don't be too surprised if you see this album on my faves of this year.  To which at this point the Best of 2013 might be the shortest list that I ever compiled.  Ever.

9.  Every Time It Rains (Lord Don't It Pour)-Keith Stegall 1996  Last time we left Keith, he managed to make a decent debut for Epic Records but became a better known producer to the stars rather than country star (for further reference see The Sting Ray Bikes Are Go Top Ten).  The Epic was a bit more rockabilly but by the time he cut his followup for Mercury in the 90s, it was more mainstream country.  Got good reviews but it didn't sell either and Keith has since stayed behind the control booth.  Passages, the 11 year follow up is good but relies on too many ballads for my liking.  But for uptempo country songs such as this, I'd be happy to do the Two Step as well.

10.  All Night-Wagoners  1988  They were from Texas and they were marketed as a country act for A&M Records and made two good but somewhat uneven albums for them.  Lead singer Monte Warden went on to a solo career and though I never heard of his Watermelon albums, the one for Asylum was quite boring and bombed on the country side of things.  The Mavericks actually did this kind of music better but Raul Malo could never get that Buddy Holly sneer that Warden did so well on this track.

Since this is been a very short news week, think I'll dive in with some reviews of recent albums.
Hackamore Brick-One Kiss Leads To Another (Real Gone)  A band that got compared to the Velvet Underground, they ended up being on Karma Sutra, a label more famous for bubble gum than rock and made a hardly promoted album that enough cared enough to get Real Gone to reissue it.  While people compare it to the 3rd Velvet Underground, this has an unfinished sound to it and at times made me wonder what the fuss was all about.  If nothing else this fortells of the future of The Strokes.  I tend to agree with the B grade that Robert Christgau gave it, a curio but not the groundbreaker people tell you it is.  Just another band that made an one off album in the 70s and paid the price by an indifferent label that didn't know how to market them.

Black Joe Lewis-Electric Slave (Vagrant)  On their steaming performance on Austin City Limits I ended up buying this and damn, Black Joe Lewis is the rare kind of black rock and roller.  I really wish that we had more black folk playing rock and roll as well but we don't have many since most rather be thug rappers or autotuned Marvin Gaye.  This comes blaring out of the gate of hard rock n roll with Skulldiggin and continues a dark rock journey although at times, Lewis returns to the party groove of Come To My Party before turning the Smokestack Lightning riff of Vampire into a rockin chug a lug before coming to the end of the line. I originally called this louder than Hendrix and not as tuneful but that's because of a mix that doesn't make it stand out better than it should. Maybe I picked the wrong example, perhaps I should said as tuneful as Arthur Lee of the Four Sail era but a little more tuneful.  Confused? Think of Sly or Mother's Finest, the picture will eventually come to you.  Trust me.

The Winery Dogs (Loud n Proud)  Somewhat sounding like Mr. Big in spots,this is a supergroup of sorts featuring Billy Sheehan who did star in that band, Mike Portnoy (ex Dream Theater to which he can't stop talking about them even though he left that band) and the underrated  Richie Kotzen who managed to give Poison some badly needed street cred when he replaced CC Deville for a short time in the 90s but most of the time was a solo artist in his own way (Mother Head's Family Reunion an album I remember fondly) but sounds like a dead ringer of David Coverdale.  So anyway, you get 13 songs clocking in over an hour if you can keep your attention span going by then and songs that sounded like what Mr Big did back then before the ballads ate them up and plenty of flash from everybody. Kotzen can almost Steve Vai note for note in his crazed solos, Billy Sheehan playing leads on bass and of course Portnoy who overplays on just about everything, the guy plays like he has OCD (and he does judging from past interviews). There's a can you top this mentality that all three guys try to outdo one another at time on fast tempo songs.  The ballads are just plain yawn and the album goes on way too long.  If you like technique and want to figure out how Kotzen played on this, or how Sheehan played that and especially the drummers would love to know how the hell Portnoy do those bizarre 12/9 drum fills on a 4/4 song and good luck with that kiddies.  But sometimes rock and roll is meant to be played simple, and that something that Mike and the guys don't do all that much.  But for those that rather rock and keep it simple, go elsewhere.  It's all above you here.

Hackamore Brick-One Kiss Leads To Another B
Black Joe Lewis-Electric Slave B+
Winery Dogs B-

RIP Ray Dolby who eliminated tape hiss and made sound recording better sounding.

Of course, lest we not forget. 9/11.


2000 Man said...

I did a little digging around and I think I like Black Joe Lewis. I'll have to see if the record store has any of his stuff. Thanks for the tip!

R S Crabb said...

Hi 2000 Man!

I saw Black Joe on Austin City Limits a few months ago and he plays a mean guitar back then. The new album is a bit more raw sounding than the one that came out on Lost Highway a couple years ago but if you like good old scathing rock n roll and blues, you'll enjoy Electric Slave. Cheers!