So after about 16 days of an government shutdown, things are back to normal. BTW gas prices went up over 3 dollars back to 3.15. The between the buns practice of Big Oil and Big Government are back again.
In my time up in Madison I forgot to add that Frugal Muse is closing their long time east side location on Sherman Street, as well as the True Value Store in that area. Any remaining inventory will be moved over to their west side location at Prairie Towne Center. The Northgate strip mall location was kind of a throwback to yesteryear when I first went there. It was one of the few places that pumped out Muzak tunes across the driveway although Northgate gave that up about 2 years ago. Like anything else, declining foot traffic and the internet was the beginning of the end. When I was there, their inventory was down to the bare minimum. In other words, another place gone to history. http://host.madison.com/business/frugal-muse-shuttering-its-east-side-bookstore-after-years-in/article_ee169a43-0c7b-5320-9b3d-9788979b5439.html
Plenty of emergency fire trucks going through town, one during rush hour where no fewer than five fire trucks came roaring down John Nolen Drive during rush hour. Good thing they got that out of the way, I was just struck on the damn train tracks which not more than 10 minutes later a long Wisconsin Southern train made rush hour traffic that much harder to get through. By then I found a parking spot next Mad City Music X and managed to get out and enjoy that 100 plus car roaring slowly down the tracks.
Happy birthday wishes to Sonny Lott (Divin Duck) who turned 72 last Friday and Chuck Berry who is now 87 years young but still playing at Blueberry Hill in St Louis once in a while.
While Wilko Johnson has been diagnosed with cancer and on his last go round, he has outlived Gypsie Mayo, the guitarist that replaced him in Dr Feelgood in 1978. Mayo had his own sound on classic underground hits like She's A Wind Up, Milk And Alcohol and my favorite riff Jumping From Love To Love. Mayo later joined the reformed Yardbirds. Mayo was 62.
Another oversight, Roger Pope played drums for Hookfoot and played drums on some Elton John and Hall And Oates songs of the 70s and 80s passed away last month without anybody commenting on it. Upon digging up notes on the internet, I came across this sad story about Roger tying the knot with his long time girlfriend before moving beyond the sunset. Another victim of cancer at age 66. http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/district/southampton/10691746.Southampton_drummer_Roger_Pope_marries_hours_before_losing_cancer_battle/
A change of Mexican restaurant ownership in Anamosa, El Rancinto is changing their name to El Tequila. Had a nice 7 year old girl telling me they were not open now but come back next week. With Green Leaves a thing of the past both in Anamosa and in Cedar Rapids, Bamboo Gardens in DT A'ville has a very good lunch and supper buffet. Also a shout out to Rudy's Tacos in the Quad Cities area, the Moline store had a very large Super Burrito that is excellent. And that's something lacking in the Quad Cities, a decent Mexican restaurant.
Today's Top Ten brought to you by the Kingman Del Taco featuring their new drive thru! When you just can't wait....
1. It Was There That I Saw You-Trail Of Dead 2002 Better known as ...and you will know us by the trail of dead....and I never heard anything of theirs despite reading glorious reviews of their albums and figured I give their best album Source Tags & Codes a try. One part emo, one part punk rock, one part screamo, alternative, even prog rock figures into this. Not bad actually although the emo vocals take a while to get used to. A review calls them a cross between Joy Division and the dreaded Sonic Youth although there's a nod to Jimmy Eat World.
2. Miss Brown To You-Billie Holiday 1935 You all know damn well nobody out there in net land would follow And You Know Us By Trail Of Dead song with a uptempo swing classic from Billie Holiday and if there is such a site, direct them over here and maybe we'll talk....naw didn't think so. Somewhere tacked away in the 25 cent Pawn America section of future landfill CDs was a okay version of Greatest Hits from Lady Day. Meaning although the CD had some scratches on it, it played fine. Much talk about Billie lies on her Verve era blues/jazz classic stuff but I enjoy her uptempo stuff a bit more. Time, age, bad luck, booze and drugs took their toll and you can even hear that as time went by to her 1941 sessions that produced Gloomy Sunday and God Bless The Child, which also ends the Columbia best of since they didn't process the Verve masters. But hearing this best of, kinda reminds me of a nice sunny day, with storm clouds forming deeper and deeper into this album.
3. You're Just A Baby-Belle & Sebastian 1996 This acoustic riff sounds a lot like Yours Is No Disgrace by Yes. Hard to figure a Brit Pop band paying tribute to a prog rock band and B&S is about as prog rock as Blur is. I also think time has actually treated Belle And Sebastian better than, say Blur or Oasis and Stuart Murdoch does have a wide variety of influences on their first album called Tigermilk. Hell, I love these guys more than the aforementioned Blur, Oasis axis. Probably the only time I ever agreed with New Music Express and Pitchfork on the greatness that is B&S.
4. Summer (68)-Pink Floyd 1970 Upon pushing buttons on XM Sirius and hanging on Deep Cuts for a long time before the dreaded midnight Pink Floyd, they managed to sneak this rarely played song off Atom Hearted Mother. On a unrelated note, I found a 1928 penny in my pocket. Which I'm sure is still worth 1 cent in this day and age but probably comes out to less than a cent. Good thing I remembered to take it out of my pocket. Somebody made me a CDR of Atom Hearted Mother and you think I can find the damn thing?
5. Chinatown-Speedway Blvd 1980 One of the many failures that was CBS's Developing Artist Series of the 1980s, where they put out albums by unknown bands in the 5.98 range and this record hoarder bought many of them. (Jo Jo Zep And The Falcons, Dirty Looks, Billy Burnette, Angel City, Romantics, Nantucket many more) most were very good. Steve at Record Realm went overboard and had about 10 copies of Speedway Blvd's first and only album, and the big deal was that the Kazernez/Katz production team, makers of the Bubblegum music decided to take more of a serious look on the rock side but only time they succeeded was Ram Jam. Speedway Blvd was their second try at serious producers but reviews were lukewarm at best, Rolling Stone only gave this a one star rating. It's a confusing album of a band in search of a style, do they want to rock, or be a soul band or a prog rock band. More like Prog pop in the end although Jordan Rudes's wide assortment of keyboard trickery makes this song a bit more memorable. Epic Records, dropping the ball as usual picked (think) I'm Gonna Hold On as a single and it bombed. Greg Feldman later joined Balance, but by far Jordan Rudess became the most well known musician of this band, joining The Dixie Dregs before making a bigger name for himself in Dream Theater. http://robotsforronnie.blogspot.com/2007/07/speedway-blvd-speedway-blvd-1980.html
6. Resurrection Shuffle-Ashton Gardner & Dyke 1971 Ah, the late great Tony Ashton, ex Creation bassist Kim Gardner and Roy Dyke who later move over to prog rockers Badger and played in a early edition of Pat Travers, but Ashton Gardner and Dyke was more of a jazzier excursion that made a few albums but best known in the states for this one hit wonder song. They deserved better. Fun fact: Roy Dyke married Stacia the dancer from Hawkwind during their Space Ritual era.
7. Henna And Swayed-Blind Mr. Jones 1992 (issued in the US in 1994) Ride with a flute player in it. Meaning Ride, the British band that was a cult favorite in the early 90s and made four great to good albums for Sire. Blind Mr Jones on the other hand pretty much stayed over across the pond via Cherry Red Records before Bizarre/Planet Records (Herb Cohen's label) licensed their first album Stereo Musicle stateside and it was destined for the dumpster section. Makes a good companion piece to Going Blank Again by Ride.
8. Look At You Now-Far Too Jones 1998 Another 25 cent bargain deal, I thought I didn't have my original copy of their album till I came back home and found it tucked away in the dew room. Now I have two copies of Picture Postcard Walls. More like a alternative harder rocking version of Matchbox 20 or a more focused Dog's Eye View, this song could have contended with anything on radio at that time. But sad to say, FTJ was stuck on a label that was the verge of failing and being part of the Hollywood/Disney label was a clash of ideas. Lead off single As Good As You did managed to get a play or two on radio.
9. Fallen Angel STS-5-L Nik Turner 2013 For those who miss the good old days of two chords, power generators, pounding drums and odd ball guitar leads, the new Nik Turner CD Space Gypsy relives the days of Space Ritual and despite it all, it does beat anything Dave Brock has done with Hawkwind sad to say. I love Dave Brock just as much as the other guy and the Hawkwind name registry that Turner did stressed Brock to the point of canceling the Hawkwind tour at the moment, whereas Turner is back in the states touring on the new album. Which can't be found on CD anywhere but Ragged had a limited edition of this LP for a pricy 34 dollars. Amazon has the cd cheaper it seems.
10. Lucy In The Skies With Diamonds-Elton John 1974 Back then anything Elton John did would be top ten gold in the 70s before everybody got burned out on him but I brought every 45 EJ put out, or found them cheap. Sunday, I was going through LPs to donate to Goodwill, since I needed to free up more shelf space and really decided to throw out a lot of stuff that somehow sounded good at the time. But I still have the Greatest Hits Volume 2 that I brought years ago and thought about throwing in the donation pile but thought I play it one more time and decided a reprise was in order. So I still have that album. But as the days go by, I'm sure I'll revisit the dew room and the overgrown stacks of LPs and make the decision which ones will be going bye bye. John Lennon aka Dr. Winston O'Boogie adds guitar and backing vocals. Since Lennon's tragic passing, Elton John has retired the song. But that doesn't mean that we can't still listen to it from time to time.
(another photo missing due to expiration rules in Google, this is getting to be bullshit to replace them)
Tuesday was the first day of snow in the area. I am hoping this is not going to be a common occurrence for the rest of the year or it is going to be yet another long winter that we can all do without. Old timers claim that the weather is something like the 47-48 winter when it was bone chilling cold although somewhat dry. That's what I get for a buying car. Hoping for a mild winter, only to get it underneath a ton of the white shit. Too early for this.
I think we have enough new music to compile another best of the year blog, although history has shown that nobody really cares what my favorite albums are this year. I think the total views of the past two haven't even equaled the 2009 best of, which is still in the top five all time views. I thought last year's best of was better than the 2009 blog but nobody reads it. Something about the best songs of 2009 that brings the Russian viewership out.
The best way to describe the cheap CDs anymore is a new term called Dumpster Diving which applies to CDs found for a dollar or less. Sometimes you can find a diamond in the rough, A Billie Holiday Greatest Hits, even Clint Black Greatest Hits work if you have a extra George Washington coin to donate. The majority of Madison folk looking for rap or Zep or Floyd overlooks Pops Staples gives us audiophiles a chance to hear something cheap. And a chance to hear what World Leader Pretend or Wheat sounds like before donating it back to the landfill. Or Van Halen 3.
I don't think we got burned by buying bad music. Only one that comes to mind is Essra Mohawk's Sandy Hurvitz-Sandy's Album Is Here At Last (Collector's Choice) which is infamous for being part of the Bizarre Records lineup of artists that Frank Zappa signed up. Originally on Verve and is basically a piano recital of sorts, this does feel like a half thought out attempt to be original, and it is in its own way, but it's really boring. Too bad Frank Zappa didn't use the Mothers as Hurvitz's band on this album and perhaps the problem was Frank encountering a strongwilled but teenaged woman and chose to dump the whole thing on Ian Underwood's lap, which ended up being more of a underproduction. Best thing about the album, the photo cover art. Rest you can live without. http://wiki.killuglyradio.com/wiki/Sandy_Hurvitz
Joe Grushecky-Somewhere East Of Eden (Schoolkids/Warner Nashville)
He's been more working man than Bruce Springsteen has been for years and unlike the boss, Joe is a cult artist at best that makes great albums that should have been heard. Once the voice behind The Iron City Houserockers, Joe's working man credo and laments are the stuff are legends but has a voice closer to Graham Parker to B.S. Right off the bat, Grushecky points out that all our money goes to the suits (I Can Hear The Devil Knocking), wonders Who Cares About Those Kids and the title track laments a down and out Iraq Vet parking cars for a living. And of course Prices Go Up and our wages don't. Another good thing Joe is good at is three chord rock and roll (I Was Born To Rock) and I Still Look Good At Sixty. In this day and age, rock and roll isn't what it used to be, if you don't agree with me, listen to your local crappy modern rock or real rock station. Joe's heart remains where my heart is at, good rock and roll with a message to quote from an early album have a good time but get out alive.
Black Oak Arkansas-Back Thar N Over Yonder (Atco/Atlantic)
Basically these guys were hit and miss throughout their career; I still say the highlight remains the smash and crash of Raunch N Roll their 1973 live which gave a kick in the ass to Hot And Nasty (a failed hit sorry to say), Hot Rod, Gigilo and Up which are here in studio form from some unreleased sessions produced by the late great Tom Dowd. Tommy Aldrich was their back beat secret weapon, but did you know that the latter day BOA Johnnie Bolin (brother of the late great Tommy Bolin) has been doing a nifty job behind the kit. Jim Dandy Mangrum can still growl with the best of them and the new five tracks are what you expect from latter day Black Oak Arkansas, still rocking but also looking back with fondness. Plugged In And Wired is Getting Kinda Cocky 2013 style and I Ain't Poor is pretty good, but we really didn't need a cover of I Shall Be Released, nor Satisfaction nor the half accapella start of Jim Dandy before the full band blows on in during the lead guitar break. If you really think about it, Black Oak is a lot like Grand Funk back in the 70s, mindless rock and roll fun although the Autotuner Rap Generation will never get into this type of fun music. Still, you can hear the influence that David Lee Roth would pick up for Van Halen in the late 70s, and best example is Legal ID to which the underage sheriff daughter tries to nail ole Jim Dandy but of course he sneaks out by the seat of his pants. Still I find it hard to believe that Atlantic would actually issue the lost sessions and new recordings of a band 40 years removed from Jim Dandy and yes it's a tax write off but I have to commend the Atlantic folks for giving this the full treatment, and that includes a big booklet of over 200 pictures of Jim Dandy and Black Oak throughout the years. It could also help if they reissued their albums (Keep The Faith, I rather not pay 40 bucks for a out of print CD) but still Back Thar N Over Yonder is an interesting artifact of an interesting band, and a interesting lead singer doing what he knows best. Loving the women yes, but make sure you have a legal I D before approaching him.
Just in case: I preserved the Frgual Muse Madison and the Kingman Del Taco pictures for fear they might disappear. Some pictures are worth keeping. (Photo Credit: Doug McMurdo Via the KD Miner)