Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top Ten Of The Week-And I Thank You

!0 years ago, I had a general idea of putting together a top ten of the songs that stood out that week or was in the CD player.  Basically done on a whim and encouraged by Steven Anthony (Hoop) and my friends at the Roost, on the first week of January of 2003 I put up a top ten. Thanks to my friends in the roost, they encouraged me to continue to do this on a regular basis although doing this for 10 years complete was the farthest thing from my mind.  I miss the comrades at the Roost, the late great Trampus, the idealistic Starman and the lovely Donna aka Brooksie who during the 2004 year provided many of a top ten of her own.  To which I started adding comment to the songs at hand, I stole that from her.  Much love to Brooksie for her support over the years.

In 2006, MSN Groups was shutting down and so I took my act over to My Space, one of the worst places to ever start a blog, even after their blotched attempt to go with the times and deleted all the back blogs that I managed to save from March 2008 onward, but didn't get to the two years beforehand.  Then after going from Multiply to Blogspot I finally decided on the latter and been here full time since 2010.  Over the years I managed to talk tunes with Tad over the years and he's been one of most dedicated of readers.  A couple others managed to link my site to theirs as well, 2000 Man, Rastro and Drew's Odds And Sods, who helped get the word out.  Over in Blogspot, the contributors have been The Brat aka Nicole who did put in a guest spot whenever I needed a break from it all.  And of course Bob Lefsetz's commentary and blogs which made great reading fodder.

The top ten has been a labor of love although the time and effort may have not been worth it.  For the songs I have tried my best to showcase the lesser known for the readers to check out and sometimes I did manage to hear from musicians of mentioned bands, a high point for me if they ever did respond. Usually I started writing the list of songs out on Friday Night and add and subtracted over the days to which the final product would appear on Monday or Tuesday.  And then adding pictures added to the work and sometimes the pictures would disappear over time on previous blogs, a pain in the ass and general annoyance. But the majority of pics came from Google and usually when links or sites go dark, those pictures disappear.  So I had to replaced the blank screens with new pictures and hope they stay up for a long time.  Half the time I just say fuck it and leave the space blank.  Besides nobody really goes through the archives all that much.

The ratings have been the best all time this month, cracking 4,000 for the first time ever and having one day 927 views pop up in your ratings meter and two days later down to 38 views.  We'll never know who or how many people reads them but I think at least the rightful number is always around 2000 at best and the rest ghost readers propped up by Vampirestat or Ad Sense Watch Dog.  Or some fly by night Russian site. Those who come in and read them I thank each and every one of you for at least checking it out and pointing out mistakes and all.  Or simply saying good job.  Doing this every week for a whole decade; even I can't believe that.  I don't know what prompted me to keep going but I thought if I can convert a reader or two to my favorite bands I did my job.

But good things do come to an end.  Nothing is forever and even I knew that the Crabb Top Ten would be a finite product and the time expiration would be forthcoming.  And this is my final top ten of the year and perhaps for the last time.  The past two months, I really begin to lose interest in this.  But I figured if I can last out the year, at least it meant that I didn't quit before then.  I wanted to see this out before closing the chapter to a decade long career of the songs that made an impact of a certain week.  This week is no different. But first.

More deaths.  Benjamin Curtis who was part of the space rock band The Secret Machines and later School Of Seven Bells died from cancer at age 35.....Johnny Orr, legendary Michigan and later moving to Iowa State and turning them into a big basketball powerhouse, which coined the phase "Hilton magic" for the Cyclones always seem to beat ranked teams in Ames. (Larry Brown never won there in his time at Kansas) in the late 80s and early 90s before retiring in 1994, he was 86.  On a positive note: John McVie returned to the stage in Las Vegas at a Fleetwood Mac show.

The Goo Goo Dolls has kicked Mike Matalin their drummer of 19 years to the curb. The reasons have been murky at best about Mike's firing despite early in the month Mike celebrated of the birth of twins to his family. The Goos don't believe in maternity leave so they took the drummer from Lifehouse on tour with them in support of their flop LP Magnetic LP.  I think this somewhat echoes of booting their original drummer in 1995 and I'm sure Johnny and Robbie have their own reasons. I still love the Goos but really guys, could you have picked a better time and effort to iron out the differences?

And guess what? It's fucking snowing again. No such thing as global warming and sorry Al Gore, the world continues to play by its own rules with snow up the ass.  Fuck winter.

This week's tunes.

1.   I Have The Gun-Crime And The City Solution 1990  A long time ago I bought Simon Bonney's solo album and it was very country sounding whereas in this band, these guys are a lot like Passion Fodder or Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds (probably due to Mick Harvey having something to do with this, he was in the Bad Seeds).  And I have a low tolerance for both Cave and Passion Fodder.  This is the lead off track and it wouldn't sound out of place on a Midnight Oil Lp if you can believe that.  This CD that I found, was originally found and not bought at the Stuff Etc store in Davenport but at some point between October and this year, somebody bought this cd and dumped it off in Marion at the Salvation Army.  So basically this CD would have a nice story to tell if it could talk.  Nobody knew this but Bonney reformed Crime and The City Solution this year with a new album featuring David Edwards from 16 Horsepower helping out and it was recorded in Detroit by Dave Feeny (Junk Monkeys).  It'd be interesting to hear the new album but from the samples that I heard, I can live without it.

2.   Dream Girl-Anders Osborne  2013  The biggest bitch about no new record stores in my area is that I have to rely on Half Priced Books throwing things in the bargain bins for me to hear about the new artists and new music.  Osborne has been around for a while, recorded an album for Okeh in the 1990s and plays in Phil Lesh And Friends today as well.  Born in Sweden, lives in New Orleans and making the blues rock in the shape of Warren Haynes, his latest album Peace is the first time I heard Anders and I'd give it honorable mention in the best of 2013 albums as well.  As long as we have musicians like Anders, good music for the future will never die.  Seek and ye shall find it.

3.  Me! I Disconnect From You-Gary Numan/Tubeaway Army 1979  I don't spend much time in Record Collector anymore and I went in there for the  final time this year and ended up getting Gary's 1979 Replicas album and something else.  Basically downtown Iowa City is a money grab, down to 10 minutes parking on a quarter and thirty seconds if you use a nickle. Ripoff indeed.  But I always have had a love/hate relationship with Kurt throughout the 25 plus years of Record Collector.  Nevertheless he's the last man standing in the record stores that have been in downtown I.C.  And I recommend going there if you're in Iowa City.   Just remember if you're going to park on the streets, bring lots of quarters. Lots of them.  And maybe I'll be there at the Collector.  In spirit.

4.   Mule Skinner-Otis Williams & The Midnight Cowboys 1970  Hootie wasn't the only black guy to try country music, Charlie Pride has done it before, so has Big Al Downing or Stoney Edwards.  And Otis Williams, long before having a hit on King Records with Hearts Of Stone but he wanted to record country but Syd Nathan nixed that idea.  So it took Otis another decade to hook up with Pete Drake who owned Stop Records in Nashville and they issued this album which didn't sell.  The two covers of Charley Pride songs showed that Pride had the better voice but Otis finest moment was a cover of this old Jimmie Rodgers chestnut including that add lib about that little water boy not doing his job.  You have to hear it to believe it.  But you have to settle for Rocky Top instead. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-k7ega_3ets

5.  Candy Store Rock-Led Zeppelin 1976  The 60s had the Beatles, the 70s had Zeppelin. Music was way great back then.  And still is now.

6.  Trout Fishing In America-Richard Brautigan  1970  A music collector knows what to look for when he goes out bargain hunting.  Honestly, going to a record store is NOT where you're going to find them.  You see, the owner of the record store knows value when he sees one and isn't afraid to jack the price up or put it on Ebay or Amazon and let people slug it out for paying for it.  Usually anything on Collector's Choice Music will bring in big bucks, especially the EMI stuff that Gordon Anderson paid for and put out for a limited time only.  Listening to Richard Brautigan the album has a story going far back as being slated for release on the Zapple label, the Beatles' spoken word and noise label but the record never got released after Allen Klein bailed out Apple and shut down the Zapple part.  However, the record ended up on Harvest (home of Pink Floyd, Deep Purple in the UK) in the US and vanished without a trace.  Another oddball find at the Salvation Army and this segment (can't say it's a song, it's a spoken word narrative) did spawn a band to call themselves Trout Fishing In America with the Beaker Street classic No Matter What Goes Right. A sign of radical being: Harvest posted Richard's San Francisco telephone number on the cover.  Can't do that no more.

7. Are You Happy-The Beau Brummels  1967  A tale of two bands: one a pop rock band making great music for Autumn and then the other band which explored country and muzak when Warner Brothers snatched them up and left them for dead.  I have a hard time liking their critical acclaimed Triangle album and even harder time trying to stay awake but this failed single wouldn't been out of place of along the likes of Pet Clark and The Association, although the latter band had better hooks for AM radio.

8.  Sunset Medley (A bunch of blues/Babes in the woods) W.G.Haenschen & T.T. Schiffer  1916   By far the earliest recording to ever grace this top ten and perhaps the first honest Boogie shuffle or as they put it the beginnings of swinging jazz, at least A Bunch Of Blues segment of this medley.  Schiffer, one of the greatest unknown drummers of the early recording years may have invented funk.....50 years before anybody attempted it.  Never knew it existed.  http://www.archeophone.com/product_info.php?cPath=21_24&products_id=74

9. Drift-Hostage 1994  For one things they clarify that back in the early 90s 3rd Street Live was known as Shades and they opened up for Foghat (The Lonesome Dave/Brian Bassett version of that band BTW) and they were one of the best cover rock bands in the Cedar Rapids area.  And for their effort they put together a CD called Black Sky Calling which is a so so record.  But I give it a fond remembrance since they recorded at School House, which was inside 16th Avenue Music in the Czech Village (RIP).  For all the hodgepodge that some of the bands are in the IA HOF, I'm surprised that Hostage hasn't made the list. But then again they do overlook some of the more obscure but more influential musicians in the area.  Hostage did reunite in 2010 and played certain venues but looks like they have retired once again. (there was a picture of Foghat playing at Third street live with Hostage opened up, but the picture has since disappeared, Hostage's loss)

10.  Those Were The Days-Cream 1968
       Another Year-Ian Gomm 1979
       We'll Meet Again-The Byrds 1966
       Another Brand New Year-The Bottlerockets 1999

Finally, I couldn't decide what song would be a fitting end to 10 years of putting up a top ten and I had these songs to debate but in the end I just said the hell with it and put them all up as kind of a medley.  The Cream song was a B side to White Room and I played Those Were The Days more than I did than White Room. Old crank Ginger Baker got credit for this song although Jack Bruce sang it, much to Ginger's chagrin.  Another Year was the B side to Hold On by Ian Gomm, and the Byrds and Bottlerockets songs end their respective albums.   As for blogging, I don't think it's the end of R.S.Crabby, I know I'll be moving on to a different venture (Next up: R. Smith's Record World-yet another music blog that will continue to mine the vaults of the forgotten, coming soon?) but for ten years straight the top ten music and review site has been the one constant in a decade of ups and downs for myself.

For the next year, I pray that 2014 will be a much better year for myself and for you out there.  I pray that our job status will get better and hopefully I won't have to look for another job and give up the things in life that I have enjoyed.   I hope next year we won't lose so many friends, family and musicians that have influenced my life but since most of I know are old and getting old, somebody will opt out into the great beyond.

Things come and go, so do the places that I go to.  I'd love to return to Seattle in the summertime or perhaps another Arizona trip but I think last summer's venture into the Valley Of The Sun may have been the final visit.  But never say never.  But in reality, the CD bargain hunts to faraway places are becoming less and less rewarding and I'm sure we'll lose a few more stores as the years go by.

With this top ten of the week and for the year, I have fulfilled my 10 year commitment and maybe hopefully some of the songs I posted made you seek them out, or at least Google them.  The music world doesn't exist sorely on Free Bird, Hotel California, Hey Soul Sister or any of those piece of shit bro country songs that made country radio a joke to listen to.   There's much more to seek out and listen to be it You Tube, Spotify, or net radio.

Thanks for your support and we'll meet again.

I promise.


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