Saturday, March 29, 2014


When you grew up in the 70s, you loved Aerosmith.  I know I did.

A long time ago, I was out and about over at the old Lindale Plaza (now Mall), in the old Why Not Lounge parking lot I stumbled upon the leaves of a 20 dollar bill that back then brought a few 45s, a couple albums and about 2 hours playing pinball up at Aladdin's Castle, which was most a pinball playing place.  Of course being a 14 year old, a 20 dollar bill did burn a hole in my pocket and I went to Target to buy 2 albums of note, one was 10cc The Original Soundtrack for 2 dollars (strange it was already a cut out in late 1975 despite I'm Not In Love being on it) and the other was Toys In The Attic, to which I played the grooves off that album, mostly on side 2 and Sweet Emotion and No More No More, the latter one of my favorite all time Aerosmith songs, a song that classic rock radio rarely plays although Sweet Emotion is always playing somewhere on the airwaves much to my chagrin.  And then we had Round And Round, one of the heaviest numbers they ever did but I never paid much attention to You See Me Crying.  Side 1 had the fun title track but I didn't like Uncle Salty all that much and I did play Walk This Way before it was ruined by the Run DMC version (more about that later).

A year later I quit playing pinball for about 2 months in order to pick up Rocks and that too was a winning album, some say their best and side 1 is just about as perfect as they got, with Back In The Saddle, minor hit Last Child going into Rats In The Cellar and Joe Perry's Combination. Side 2 the best track was Sick As A Dog although I didn't like it going into Nobody's Fault and the rest was okay.  I have to point out that Home Tonight a single from that album didn't chart very high if it did but it was a ballad at the end of the record that I didn't play very much, I prefer my Aerosmith rock and roll and no ballads, something that they would become famous for but more about that later.

Dream On, when it came out in 1973 wasn't much of a hit but a second release of it three years later it became one of their biggest hits ever and of course played to death on radio, but the debut was meat and potatoes Boston rock and roll with Make It and Mama Kin but also featured a wild cover of Walking The Dog and Movin Out and produced by Adrian Barber (The Rascals). A promising start but their second album Get Your Wings was much better and rocked harder due to Jack Douglas becoming producer and he would be key in the next four albums,  how could you not go wrong leading things off with Same Old Song And Dance and going into Lord Of The Thighs.  Recently turned 66, Steven Tyler could really think up some interesting sexual innuendos as heard on Thighs.  Side 1 was almost damn near perfect with Spaced and Woman Of The World concluding that side and the second side with FM classic S.O.S. (too late) and half studio half live Train Kept A Rollin, a song that they still use for a encore.  Beginning Get Your Wings and ending with Rocks, Aerosmith put together three of the most amazing albums of the 1970s.  Draw The Line begin to show cracks in their drug infused haze but believe it or not, I think it serves a nice purpose and the forth winning album of the 70s, although when it first came out, I wasn't that impressed but somehow in 1977 I played it a lot.  Live Bootleg, shows Aerosmith in their Cocaine fueled glory and they sure sounded fucked up with all the bizzare missed notes, feedback, thrown firecrackers from the audience and you had to be there to really believe it. Time hasn't treated this record very well but it has moments, including a early 1970's performance of them doing I Ain't Got You and Mother Popcorn to which Joey Kramer could lay a funky beat before going into fucked up beats in the 1977 tour.

And then Joe Perry and Steven Tyler had a falling out which begins the downfall of Aerosmith and Night In The Ruts, an interesting 1979 play on words title, suffers from the fallout although the album isn't too bad, No Surprize being the highlight and a loud Gary Lyons mix, the rest of album isn't that good I don't think.  It's one of the albums I still have on vinyl and not on CD.  But I don't play it very often, nor do I on the 1982 Rock In A Hard Place which has actually held up better than Night In The Ruts. By then Joe Perry left to do his own project (Joe Perry Project) and Brad Whitford teamed up with Derek St. Holmes for Whitford/St. Holmes and made a very spotty one off in 1981.  Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay were the replacements and although Jailbait still reminded us that Aerosmith could still rocked but without Perry and Whitford the inspiration was gone.  Columbia mopped up with a half assed Aerosmith Greatest Hits which used the 45 edits rather than album cuts for the hits.  The drugs won out it seemed and the best American Rock Band was no more....

Or so we thought. The Joe Perry Project failed to duplicate the Aerosmith and Perry along with Whitford returned to the mothership for a new start and new album on Geffen, the much maligned Done With Mirrors, a album that the band didn't care much for, it sounds like one off demos and perhaps that was the way Ted Templeman wanted to record them.  To me, it was their best since Draw The Line, the discovered how to rock and roll once again and even Tyler is still thinking up words to sing to the songs, the music mattered more.  Let The Music Do The Talking is more in your face than the Ralph Morman sanged verson on the JPP 1980 album of the same name.  If the songs are one take works in progess, so be it but the sloppiness fun of Gypsy Boots, The Hop and failed single Sheila is what I rather remember Aerosmith for, real rock and roll.  But Done With Mirrors sold poorly and the label was wanting hits.

A couple things happened in 1987 that got Aerosmith back on the map and back on the charts. 1) Perry and Tyler appeared in the Run DMC version of Walk This Way, the original selling out of a band but back then it was actually a fresh take, they took a chance with the rap upstarts and managed to get a number 4 single from this.  2). The band hooked up with Bruce Fairbairn (Bon Jovi, Prism) and hired outside songwriters to help find the missing single they sorely needed.  It turned out to be the number 3 led Angel, a ballad and some say this is where the Aerosmith we knew and loved finally sold out to the major label.  The band was moreorless drug free (although relapses would occur on occasion throughout the next 25 plus years) and their sound was more polished. With Fairbairn holding production and Desmond Child, Holly Knight and Jim Vallance being the paid song doctors, Permanent Vacation is Aerosmith as rock professionals  The album comes roaring out with Heart's Done Time and of course Dude Looks Like A Lady (ruined by classic rock radio overplay) and St. John the record isn't bad, but side 2 has way too much filler for it to be a true Aerosmith classic album.  But say what you will about 1989's Pump, it's actually better with Young Lust, Monkey On Your Back and Love In An Elevator (another classic rock radio ruination) and song for song a more listenable album. But with more and more emphasis on the slower songs (Jennie's Got A Gun and What It Takes) and reliance on the song doctors, the Aerosmith that I known and loved was gone.

Which becomes the problem with each ensuring album and 1993's Get A Grip, the ballads overtake the rock and Aerosmith started making subpar albums.  I wouldn't say shitty but they disappointing to these ears and Grip is their worst since Night In The Ruts.  With that came the endless supply of Greatest Hits packages from both Sony Music and Geffen themselves, Aerosmith excused themselves from Geffen with the shoddy Little Past Insanity album, which was okay but for me I had enough and for the rest of the 90s gave little notice to their return to Columbia and the forgettable Nine Lives and even worse Just Push Play. It didn't help that the band started using Marti Fredericksen for co producer and still do to this day, Fredicksen helped out Brother Cane and was part of a band called Motherland, featuring Jason Bonham on drums for a so so album for 550 Music in the mid 90s.  But Marti was out of his league when it came to co producing the two drab albums in the 90s.  Maybe Aerosmith was becoming a nostalgia act. 

In some ways Jack Douglas returning to help out the band do their blues tribute album Honkin For Bobo helped considerably, with the boys covering some of their favorite Bo Dilddley, Little Walter numbers it felt  like a return to the old days but Marti Fredericksen was still around, still maintaining a sense of looking for a hit and they didn't get on this album.  But they did get the late Jimmie Johnson (Chuck Berry, Kentucky Headhunters) playing the piano.  The next year, they put out Rockin The Joint, another failed live effort but it did capture Aerosmith on a good night, but then again they had to put the odious ballad I Don't Want To Miss A Thing (their only number 1 record single ever, :-( ) to put a damper on things.   And then for the next six years go through different producers (failed sessions with Steve Lillywhite and Brendan O'Brien)  to give us perhaps their final statement about rock and roll...2012's Music From Another Dimension.

We heard this time and time again, that every new Aerosmith is a return to their roots and they returned to Jack Douglas to help things...................And Marti Fredricksen once again, the burr in their saddle, and the one that they look for to get the elusive hit single, now long gone.  Joe Perry got to sing on two numbers and there's plenty of guest stars all around (Julian Lennon and Carrie Underwood).  While Can't Stop Lovin You, the duet with Underwood would have fit better on a Steven Tyler album, it serves no purpose on a full Aerosmith album and the ballads here may have been the worst things they ever done this time out.  Sony Music promoted the hell out of this album, Aerosmith talked a good talk about this album but in the end, while it was better than Nine Lives and Just Push Play, Music From Another Dimension simply didn't rock hard enough and suffered greatly from bloated ballads and a hour and 8 minute total time.  And too many song doctors left and right don't help things either, the usual suspects and Diane Warren too, Music From Another Dimension ends up a big commercial disappointment and another false promise of going back to their roots, but what roots are they talking about?  It's certainly not the days of Toys And The Attic or Rocks, the logical guess would be a return to Permanent Vacation, to which they relied too much on the help of outside songwriters and occasionally doing a rock and roll song to make you think they have return back to their roots.

So I guess in all fairness is that the Aerosmith that I know and love so well, remains the band from the 70s all drugged up and ready to blow everybody and themselves off the stage to be the best rock and roll band in the world, to which we all rode the trainwreck all the way down and hope that the toxic twins wouldn't kill each other in the process.   In some ways they do mirror The Rolling Stone of the past, knew how to rock and when they finally reached the top, coasted on past laurels and outside help to maintain their status in radio world but now as senior citizens it has proven that from here on out whatever Aerosmith chooses to put out, they will do so with a calculated eye and ear to a declining corporate rock world that has written them off as classic rockers.   They have earned their way in the rock hall despite Tyler's ill advised appearance on American Idol that tarnish their street cred.  Like the Stones, Their Music From Another Dimension is their Bridges To Babylon.  But their Toys In The Attic and Rocks are their answer to Beggar's Banquet and Let It Bleed.  Once upon a time, Aerosmith was the greatest rock and roll band that took the stage, even if they don't remember that from all the drugs that they took.

Albums of note (omitting the 25 greatest hits comps out there)

Aerosmith (Columbia 1973) B+
Get Your Wings (Columbia 1974) A+
Toys In The Attic (Columbia 1975) A
Rocks (Columbia 1976) A
Draw The Line (Columbia 1977) A-
Live Bootleg (Columbia 1978) B+
Night In The Ruts (Columbia 1979) C
Aerosmith's Greatest Hits (Columbia 1980) B-
Rock In A Hard Place (Columbia 1982) C+
Done With Mirrors (Geffen 1985) B+
Classics Live (Columbia 1985) B
Permanent Vacation (Geffen 1987) B
Classics Live Two (Columbia 1987) B-
Gems (Columbia 1988) B
Pump (Geffen 1989) B+
Get A Grip (Geffen 1993) C+
Big Ones (Geffen 1994) C+
Nine Lives (Columbia 1997) C
Just Push Play (Columbia 2001) C
Honkin On Bobo (Columbia 2004) B+
Rockin The Joint (Columbia 2005) B
Music From Another Dimension (Columbia 2012) B-

Joe Perry Albums (be it Joe Perry Project or solo)

Let The Music Do The Talking (Columbia 1980) A-
I Got The Rock And Rolls Again (Columbia 1981) B
Once A Rocker Always A Rocker (MCA 1983) C+
The Best Of Joe Perry (Raven 1999) B
Joe Perry (Columbia/Roman 2005) B+
Have Guitar Will Travel (Roman/Mailboat 2009) B

Whitford/St Holmes (Columbia 1981) B
Reunion (Mailboat 2016) C+

Steven Tyler-We're All Somebody From Somewhere (Dot 2016)  C

Friday, March 28, 2014

Rock And Roll....and Bro Country

There's no mistake in thinking that new music today is absolute garbage, but perhaps the biggest nadir is the onslaught of autotuned rap country songs that have been swamping the locally Cumulus owned country station for the past year it seems.  There hasn't been one time that going to Theisen's to encounter some piece of shit song Luke Bryan or Florida Georgia Line has up, driving potential customers out of the hardware business.  Never have I thought of somebody so low that the mare mention of his name would make my skin crawl and give me hives as that What Makes Corn Grow song and to follow it up with That's My Kind Of Night.  But let us be fair, Bryan isn't the only one that is lowering himself to meth redneck standards.

Jarrod Niemann has been a journeyman country artist at best, his best known single a cover of a Sonia Dada song Lover Lover and from I remember from his first album Jarrod Niemann and the hung jury, it was actually, for country standards a fairly good although flawed effort.  His second album flopped and now for number 3 and desperate for what's left of CD sales or radio airplay he has dropped off a turd of a new album High Noon, which is everything that is bro country and what I despise about country today. Whatever Jarrod had for his first album is now thrown out in the window.  This is the kind of crap that even makes the Peach Pickers sound more like the Brill Building, complete with bathtub liquor and meth in the back.  We all knew this was going to be bad even before the new Jarrod Niemann video popped up on GAC, which has their own version of Party Down South, the trainwreck unreality show on CMT.  You really can't tell the difference especially when GAC shows the same 7 videos from various bro country acts.

For the past winter since it was too cold to do anything outside, I spent the 2 oclock hour watching the new videos from GAC and basically all they did was reshuffle the same videos over and over again.  And you couldn't tell the difference between any of them, be it Luke Bryan, or Brantley Gilbert, Blake Sheldon, Eli Young's I'm Drunk Again, and Eric Pasley, a unknown but his Friday Night bro country video seems to get more airplay than Florida Georgia Line, which seems to falling out of favor recently.   Unlike K hack, 98.1 and KISS country which don't play the female singers outside of Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, GAC does throw in some girls, Kacey Musgraves Follow Your Arrow was in regular rotation and some doe eyed female singer which I never heard of always is the last one before the top of the hour.  But most of the time GAC just sticks to Truck Yeah, the odious Tim McGraw number, a Zac Brown number that gotten so many plays I change the channel and of course, more Luke Bryan, or Jason Aldean, the new Willie and Waylon as they say. Real bad ass outlaw country, Riiiiiight.

Upon checking the top 20 videos of the week, we have some kind of disagreement on what's on the chart and what is on the GAC Bro Country Hour and no difference between Niemann doing shots with two other creepy looking dudes or Thomas Rhett's Get Me Some Of That, to which video hero guy gets drunk, gets knocked all over the place by other bro country dudes, falls on the floor and then gets a hand up by his love interest to which they make out and have sex before the video is over. Take me where this bar is at folks, I want in.  Then it's Luke Bryan again, to which another Video studmuffing, passed out on the front of the frat house, gets slapped in the face by a pissed off girl and then proceeds to drink it up and getting hugs and kisses from scantly clad college chicks that could be Playboy pin up dolls.  Wish I could go to this college too and party all day, get drunk and play mean guitar and get laid soon afterward.  This is has gotten so far out of hand that Sheryl Crow, who tried and failed for the country market on her last album was on Twitter saying.......

 Would someone please play a woman on the radio? Any woman. Doesn't have to be me but if I hear one more bro country song I'm gonna vomit!

I will always disagree with her stance on toilet paper but this time out I got her back on this. Unfortunately, this is what sells on country radio and it's worse than passing through a hog farm on a humid summer day after somebody fed them hogs with Taco Bell.  And sad to say this is not going to get any better anytime soon.   The women just love Luke Bryan to death, maybe to the point that maybe they do listen Conway with T Pain.  With a right amount of southern rock, heavy metal guitar, a mohawked bass player and references to Waylon or Willie and chicken catfish dinners and love of trucks and getting drunk, this is what sells.  Really no different to the old honky tonk songs of long ago and far away mind you but musically it's more today than Bob Wills yesterday.  I'm sure Florida Georgia Line have no clue who Bob Wills is anyway, but they both know who Garth Brooks is since they stole his microphone and use it for their live shows.

Female country singers have always been slighted on country radio throughout their history, but perhaps the reason why they been slighted in this decade is that they're smarter songwriters and singers than the Bro mites that dominated GAC or KHAcK.  Miranda Lambert and Miss Underwood have been one of the handfuls that somehow gets their videos shown or played on the radio and while one hopes that Kacey Musgraves can keep her foot in the door, the future doesn't seem to be that bright for her (but I'm rooting for her to make it).  Lesser knowns such as Jana Kramer and Cassadee Pope will become footnotes. And Sheryl Crow was too late to the party anyway but nice try.  She'll always have the backing of Cumulus and Clear Channel on her hits of the 90s on KTOF where you'll hear First Cut Is The Deepest or All I Want To Do on regular rotation.

Eventually the dire hope of songs of trucks, getting drunk and being drunk and passed out in the back of your pickup truck will finally have its run and be regulated to the junkyard once and for all but you can't take back 25 plus weeks of Cruise at number 1 last year that got the major labels to cast their lot with Bro Country.  Which is why we still have our own source of music to listen to and not have to deal with the Catfish Dinner and namechecking a rapper to a country artist from yesterday.   Sad to say we can't pick the right time to go to a hardware store, or eat at the Pizza Ranch and having to deal with Jason Aldean or Bryan's song coming on to make us lose our appetite and make a 50 yard dash out the door not to hear such shit.

But as for Jarrod Niemann, neither a new crappy video or a sell out album to the Bros isn't going help his career at all.  He may have to settle to be an opening act to Luke Bryan or Mr. CS Cole Swindell on the Bros helping Bros out tour 14. 

Besides he's too old anyway.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Playlist 3-26-14 The Number 5

As I sit here and take a peak of our anemic ratings for the month, we never seem to break past the 2,000 views mark and once fate is temping us with another under 2,000 mark I have managed to hit the music stores and beginning to find some new music that is worth a listen to. We're a quarter of the way through this year and we have reviewed five new albums and best ofs. And don't believe it's not going to be much of an improvement over course of time.  If you gotta get the new albums, you have to go to to get them from people selling them.  Which is where I got the new B. Tench and Len Price 3 new albums.  Best Buy can't be trusted, Wal Mart is worse and the remaining record stores either have one or missing the other.  This isn't the best of times for new music, but I didn't think it would be as barren as it is this year.  And the way it sounds it's not likely to get any better.

This town depresses me.  You go into Cedar Rapids and you have to deal with potholes the size of craters, the stop lights are fucking awful and what's even worse is the lack of brains the downtown trash display when you trying to drive through town.  The abundance of cows, a derogatory comment directed at fat hispanics or black women, waltzing out into the street their damn baby carriages holding up traffic when you have the green light and you have to stomp on your breaks and seeing one of these fat cows waddle out in the street.  This also applies to some white folk would take their sweet time poking through the Wally World lanes, or the goofy pawnshop couple playing tongue hockey while your trying to whisk them onward, and getting so fed up when driving by rolling down the windows and going MOO!  Cows also apply to the white folk but it seems like the Chicago transplants or gringo dingos are more of the problem than solution.   But my ire isn't on them as it is much on some dumb wasted sperm of a white kid in a white Infiniti sitting on his ass, high on bath salts and K2 and not going on the green arrow outside Lindale and may be the same punk ass that bothered me and the brat with his crap assed driving of two years ago while I'm driving my shit four tone Corsica and making gang signs in front of us.  Which is why you should have a cell phone and call 911 and report dumbfuck drivers like this.  Thank his lucky stars I don't pack a pistol when I'm driving, otherwise Mr. Punkass would be sitting there in Collins Road with four flat tires. The lack of compassion from people anymore is just mind blowing, and maybe the radiation from the Fukajamma plant has finally turned some of these idiot's brains into chesse and maybe they have become zombie nation that you see on The Walking Dead. The world ain't getting any better, especially when you have to be on the lookout for Miss Black Fanny, 2 ton cow ready to come out into the road without a second thought. But hey if you should bounce the big booty bitch off the pavement, don't worry they're make more and she'll be crying to the news that she got ran over.  In this world you can't win.  Not with the shit and the cows and Bath Salts wiseass looking at the green arrow and sitting there not knowing what to do.  Going to hell? No you're in it when you come to Cedar Rapids, watch out for the city cows, white, black brown or yellow.

I have been in a very lousy mood as you can tell after breaking another tooth and hearing the dentist, not rich enough to say I need a new crown so I'm set back about 67 dollars.  As much as I like the Dental Health Partners, I have not been very impressed with their attitude either, although I'll be dealing with the teeth cleaning bitch and hearing her cry about not having 3 teeth cleanings every year.  It's called draining my insurance sweetheart and with high gas prices, high food prices, high insurance prices and a 1 percent raise, we still going into the red and can't do this.  You're going to get plaque be it 1 month, 3 months or 6.  I can't afford to do this every four months.  But I'll give the dentist credit for getting me in fast and getting it fixed.  But don't get too pissed off at me, it wasn't your tooth that got cracked. I'm 53 years old and don't need any lectures if you want to live the luxury off my insurance.  You may get replaced down the road.

Photo: This is on a good day:

So it's been Murphy's law here, everything I touch and done has turned to shit and all the teams I rooted for in the NCAA's have fallen, Arizona State lost on a last second shot to which they couldn't get a rebound and Texas would put in for a basket and it came back to end their season.  Been a tough year for Iowa, their habit of blowing leads and falling flat in the second half ended their season and the Iowa wrestlers also laid an egg in the NCAA.  Baseball season will be here soon, so we can turn our attention on how the Chicago Cubs are going to suck this year.

But in the meantime, I continue to work on a album that nobody cares to hear about but I do so because I still believe in the magic and the power of music. It doesn't transcend outside of Radio Buzz'd or Record World but then again I probably planned it that way.  Moving onward.

Ludwig Drums have discontinued making their famous (or infamous) Speed King Drum Pedals due to a supplier not making a specific part.  While nice and sturdy, the bass pedal's biggest sound was a squeak that you can hear on some of John Bonham's recordings for Led Zeppelin, Jerry Shirley's Humble Recordings (Smokin)  and of course some of my old band recordings (Town's Edge Rock, Paraphernalia's Live Under A Full Moon).  As they say often imitated but never duplicated, the Speed King Pedal was perfect in the pounding and the friction that they could take and make your beat sound rock perfect.  But in these changing days and times, drummer's tastes have actually moved on to better pedals, namely the DW 5000 Series.  But still the Speed King deserves it's earned position in the drum hall of fame.

Dave Brockie, aka Odorous Urungus  lead singer of GWAR was found dead in his home in Virgina at age 50.  GWAR one of the bands you had to see live to believe best known album was America Must Be Destroyed but they continued to play on through the next twenty years.  The Lamb Of God was influenced by GWAR.

Westdale (Death) Mall is finally booting out all remaining tenants as it goes over a extreme makeover. Spent many a time at the Camelot and Musicland stores when it was full steady go. 

The band of the month from the Consortium, Steppenwolf:

And this:

Vinyl Lovin

The Len Price 3-Nobody Knows (JLM Recordings)

Once the darlings of Wicked Cool Records (which may now be out of order since this comes from a label formed by John Luongo, part of Wicked Cool)  The Len Price 3 continues to live in the 60s with their Kinks/Who/Pretty Things type of British rock and roll which is cool to me.  This is more streamlined and little more mature than the all out assault of Pictures, their classic 2010 album, but it's darker sounding as judged by The London Institute.  At times they try their own variation of The Kinks' Look A Little On The Sunny Side on Couldn't Get Much Worse, which could serve as an inspiration of getting around the CR traffic as well.  Like their previous albums, The LP3's songs usually work around 2 minutes at best and sometimes the songs sound underdeveloped, songs like the wonderful Billy Mason, end much too soon.  No, radio will not play this (I don't think Little Steven's Underground Garage hasn't given this album much love either) and it's a shame, it's good rock and roll inspired from a time that now is forgotten.  The Len Price 3 continue to make a good album in the way The Who's A Quick One was the inspiration.  Here's hoping they can make a good answer record to The Kinks Something Else.
Grade A-

The Kaleidoscope-Side Trips (Epic)

A band that was even too weird for the 60s themselves  The K scope (I can't spell their name half the time) made 4 albums and a best of for Epic that was showed them to be too damn schizophrenic and I didn't care for the 12 minute feedback excursion of Beacon From Mars which sounded like Jefferson Airplane on K2.  The only time they got me hooked was this first album which showed David Lindley and Doug Feldthouse   trying to outdo one another in oddball stringed instruments.  Chris Darrow was probably the one that wrote the "hits" although the K Scope never had any but it was Lindley who was moreorless the driving factor of said band.  Don't really care much for Feldthouse's turkish yodeling on Egyptian Gardens but that's nitpicking.  And their blues numbers are passable (Minne The Moocher) but this is the source point for Oh Death (which Camper Von Beethoven would cover later).  However the best songs are Lindley's growling through Why Try, which combines The Airplane/Country Joe And The Fish/Moby Grape into their own song and the moody Please which is one of the best songs of the 60s you never heard on the radio. A brief album (27 minutes) but they never topped this for simplicity and intensity.
Grade A-

Elvis Costello-Brutal Youth (WB/Rhino)

For a guy who's been around for 35 plus years Costello's output is case point of frustration.  While coming out of the angry pub punk class of 1977 (Graham Parker, Nick Lowe) he really could do no wrong with My Aim Is True and This Year's Model but each album after that, critics continued to wet their pants over everything he done. By the time Warner Brothers got a hold of him Elvis really beginning to go into bombast and overrated albums (Spike, Mighty Like A Rose) but after doing a string quartet album, he decided to return to rock and roll.  And gave us the uneven Brutal Youth.  A couple of the slower songs has that GD whine that Chrissy Hynde did on her Last Of The Independents album which render it unlistenable  But I can't tear into Costello, since he had the good sense to ask Nick Lowe to help out on bass on a few numbers.  And Pete Thomas bashing away on drums is Costello's Rock and Roll beat right there.  The failed single 13 Steps Lead Down and 20% Amnesia are probably the closest thing to the punk rock of the early years but overall, the album is bloated with stuffy ballads that don't go nowhere and goes on too long.  Had Costello followed the shorter tracks of the bonus disc this would be a minor classic but like most of his output of the 90s and 00's overrated and missing some soul like the man himself but when he says that Nick Lowe should be in the rock and roll hall of fame I forgive him.
Grade B-

Best Of Ten Wheel Drive With Genya Ravan (Polydor)

A product of the early 70s, TWD was basically a three person lead band, Aram Schefrin on guitar, Michael Zager,  who had bigger success being a disco producer (Spinners) and having a hit with Let's All Chant with the Michael Zager Group and Genya Ravan who was channeling her inner Janis Jopin or Lynda Pence, I'm not sure but she spends most of her time here screaming and yelling all over outrageous horn charts. TWD made three albums for Polydor, all went to the cut out bins in record time and good reason. Changing band lineups dogged all three of their releases and Polygram in the 1990s cherry picked the so called highlights.  Nothing much to recommend outside of failed hit single Morning Much Better which keeps Genya in check till the end of song.  If your idea of having Janis Joplin leading Blood Sweat And Tears (2nd album mind you) and throwing in the towel at the end is rock and roll so be it.  Otherwise, yet another hippie dippy drone that has been buried in time.  Revan actually reinvented herself as a punk mother, producing The Dead Boys' Young, Loud And Snotty in 1977 for Sire Records and appearing as a backup singer on the Blue Oyster Cult 1979 Mirrors album.  She got better.
Grade C

The five albums of 2014 of this year.

Drive By Truckers-English Oceans A-
The Grass Roots-Complete ABC/Dunhill Singles A-
Beck-Morning Phase A-
Len Price 3-Nobody Knows A-
Benmont Tench-You Should Be So Lucky B+

Playlist Of The Week:

Graveyard Shift-Uncle Tupelo
Jewelery Lady-The Private Property Of Digil
No Rhyme Or Reason-30 Amp Fuse
Count On Me-Bo Deans
Blackbird Chain-Beck
Come Out And Play-The Paley Brothers
Black Cloud-Trapeze
Pony St.-Elvis Costello
Stay Tonight-Eagle Eye Cherry
Grand Canyon-Drive By Truckers


Crabby's  mail box.

  "great and incalculable" may seem like hyperbole, but it's really just boilerplate legalese; BMI has never lost one of these lawsuits, not even once, and they likely never will. A lot of money must be invested to make a song a hit; people who invest, including the writers, should be paid when their work is used by other parties to make money. This is the principle the entire publishing industry runs on, including also books and movies. You want to invite friends over to watch the NFL on your big screen, no biggie, but if you charge them for the privilege, the NFL will want its cut.

Moj O'Bone: in reply to the don't play covers link (listed above)

Last week I made a usual observation about the the bad refereeing that Iowa had in their lost to Tennessee which has enjoyed making it to the sweet 16 after Duke got knocked off and Tennessee blew out the team that beat Duke.  28 fouls to 14 Iowa had called on them, not that Tennessee needed any help from the refs, Iowa did their usual meltdown.  However Cyclone fan and Twitter troll Wyatt Hertz left this in my inbox. 

One Whining Moment… drive safely (W.H)

You'll be happy to know Wyatt that I made it home safely after watching the game on TV, although highway 1 had it's share of bad drivers and it was snowing a bit.   Thank you for your concern.

Kiss Kiss.

Afterthought:  Basically Wyatt, I didn't venture too far.  the walk/drive going upstairs to the fridge, i have to watch out for the crap on the stairs going back to my man cave.  Legend has it you may have been the dumb fuck going down the wrong way on highway 30 this week.  I have plenty more whining moments you might find amusing.  Vote for Trump.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Playlist 3-19-14 Sell Outs

The last official weekend of winter has come and gone and snowstorm number 38 came through with a half inch of snow and 25 degree temps the next day.  Hopefully winter is finally gone after this, although two more storms before the week is out and we can say we had 40 snowstorms this winter. Why not, we're that close anyway?

Facebook has been the major hangout for myself and I have plenty of friends and classmates that continue to follow the bitchings and crabbings that make me stand out like a 4 hour erection and not in a good way I guess. I tend to overbitch over there but have to relieve some anger.  Sometimes it bothers me about friends unfriending due to a observation or comment that they didn't agree with (such as an over the hill radio personality that's been inducted in the IA Rock Hall of fame twice more than he actually should and plays in a so so blues band).  Life goes on, but it seems this way that those who do that reminds me of rats leaving a sinking ship while the true friends that remain friends are the ones that will party with you till the final end.  A fairweather friend so to speak.  But it is true that most of who you know has or have had a facebook account at some time.  Maybe it's a small world afterall.....unless your car breaks down in the desert, 50 miles from the nearest town.  Then it's not.

So one of the earliest Mad City bargain hunts is now in the books and the usual cry of we came we saw and bought a few things, we went home was uttered. I'm sure the next one will be Davenport again when the car's oil change is due.  No decision on the summer hunts in Arizona or maybe St. Louis.  It depends on how I feel, health-wise. I didn't do so well on the Arizona trip last year with bad food at the former places I like to eat at a big issue.

The mayor of Turtle River Minnesota has died, Gary Burger better known as the lead singer for The Monks who made the cult favorite Black Monk Time back in 1966 passed away from pancreatic cancer at age 72.  Black Monk Time was issued on Infinite Zero in the 1990s (later reissued on another label).  The Monks, like the 13th Floor Elevators did with an electric jug, used a electric banjo for a different sound.  The Monks did reunite for a few Cavestomp shows in the late 90s and early 00's.

The Jann Wanner Favorite Music Hall of fame (formerly The Rock and roll HOF (hahahahaha, quit laughing) has decided to tell Chad Channing to stay home when Nirvana takes their place with the others.  They're getting to be like Disneyland, pick and choose who gets in and who doesn't.  Chad played on Bleach, the first Nirvana album. Whoever in that HOF that decides who gets to show up are assholes.  If I was Chad, I'd crash the stage and get up there or if I was Kris or Dave, invite him up there.  That would be a FU to the Hall Of Fame Kremlin Powers To Be.  

Scott Asheton passed away this weekend, the drummer for The Stooges, he was 64. Heart attack. Outside of Iggy Pop, the only original member of The Stooges, and this is probably end The Stooges as we know it.  Their last album Ready To Die, the first to feature James Williamson back on guitar since Raw Power was better than The Menace, their messy 2006 album for Virgin, seems to the epitaph for Scott.  Iggy and James has always had traumatic times in the band and hard to tell if they're work again. James is working on a new project of his own.  Don't cry for Iggy, he'll stay busy.

Joe Lala, percussion drummer for Blues Image and later played on just about every album of the 70s also checked out Tuesday.  Lung cancer at age 66.  Chalk one up for the Marlboro man.  Smoking may be cool and makes you look cool in pictures but it is a silent killer and eventually gets you if you don't stop or stop too late.  Lala's help on the first Manassas  album added more variety to the songs.

Big reissue news (if I can type it). Atlantic reissues the first three Led Zeppelin albums with a bonus disc. Hey Hey What Can I Do, not on the bonus LZ 3 CD. Doubt if I'll make any effort to rebuy the whole thing again.

Finally the Iowa Hawkeyes made it to the part of the First Four, which means they play in a Wed game against Tennessee. If they can win 7 games, the skies the limit but this season has been a disappointment. But they caught fire in the NIT last year so maybe it might happen again.....but it didn't. Tennessee with help from piss poor officials and yet another Hawkeye meltdown in overtime, got blown out 78-65 in OT in the NCAA play in game. If the Hawkeyes decided making the NCAA's in any shape or form was the way to go, then they succeeded but their piss poor second half showing and Northwestern whopping them in the B1G tourney turned out that this season was a disappointment.  The Iowa Hawkeyes blew 9 (count em NINE) leads before the halftime only to lose which might be a record upon itself.  Next season, they do have new players coming in to fine tune things and perhaps Aaron White and Adam Woodbury will show more signs of aggressiveness that was missing this season.  We lose Roy Devyn Marble and Meshawn Basabe and the troubled Zach McCabe to graduation.  Marble did have a pretty good season although none of his shots did go in during the NCAA Play in game.

Bob Lefsetz keeps thumbing his nose at PONO, the upcoming new and exciting idea from Neil Young, calling it pointless and thumbing his nose at you, the CD and record buyer consumer who is seeing less and less new product.  If there's one thing I would love to see before I die, is to see a renaissance in buying records to the point that we can get some new stores started up.  We want new and improve but some of us still like the 12 inch black disc moving around in a circle playing music.  Bob's time here on the planet is even lesser than myself but he's always going after tomorrow's product today and people like myself cannot afford or have these things given to us as a promotion.  I am not a fan of MP3's they sound like shit and even more so when i hear them on net radio. Give me the actual product instead of the great jukebox in the sky and in the damn CPU.   This year, it's hard to even find the new stuff since Best Buy has cut back and from my time in Madison all of the record stores lacked certain new stuff for me to buy.    But shut up already Lefsetz. I don't fucking care about your GD Spotify.  Save that shit for the next lifetime.  But in the meantime, SXSW has come and gone, the big story, some fucking drunk being chased by the police ran past a barricade and struck some people in the street and killed three of them. Throw the book at the stupid fuck.  In the meantime feel free to waste your time on this article about the music sellouts or how Lady Gaga took the money and ran.

Vinyl Lovin:

The Grass Roots-The Complete Dunhill/ABC Singles (Real Gone)

Not really a complete overview mind you (No Smoke Without Fire, We Can't Dance To Your Music and Stealin Love are left off) but the folks at Real Gone have done a much better job than the idiots at MCA or Universal have done with shotty half assed comps and for the first time since the long missed Rhino 2 CD anthology we finally get a good idea who the Grass Roots were and that was the main person in the band was actually Steve Barri, the producer.  Beginning the early years when Phil Sloan was writing the hits and they showed a more commercial folk/rock sound like the Byrds or Dylan, dusting out their own version of Mr. Jones.  And of course Let's Live For Today in two versions (one would have been fine, like the fussy old crabbass that I'm am, I would have lobbied for No Smoke Without Fire since it did score on the KCRG Super 30 in 1973).  Certainly the late great Rob Grilli had the charisma charm of a lead singer but they had good songwriters in Dennis Provisor and Warren Entner, but Steve Barri focused more on getting key songs from other songwriters and the band started adding more horns and AM radio ready hooks for big hits of Two Divided by Love (written by Dennis Lambert/Brian Potter), plus Temptation Eyes, Heaven Knows and Midnight Confessions.  By 1972 most of the public moved on but they had regional hits like The Runaway and ultra catchy Love Is What You Make It, to which I ended up paying 10 dollars for the 1973 Lotta Mileage album and getting ripped of the process. It's not that great of a record.  Which probably shows that The Grass Roots were one of the best singles band at that time out there.  And hopefully Real Gone can go one further and reissued the B sides as the next project.  But in the end, The Grass Roots was mostly Steve Barri's project, kinda like his answer to Three Dog Night.  The best (and cheaper) overview since the Rhino Anthology went out of print.
Grade A-

Laszlo Gardony-The Legend Of Tsumi (Antilles)

What I love about finding cheap music is discovering something that I would have never bought full price. I get bored with classic rock, I get bored with overplayed music and is always looking for the lesser known when I decide to waste 2 hours at Pawn America, sorting through shitty and tossed aside CDs for 25 cents. I have no idea who Gardony is but when I was reading the booklet, i had the impression that this would be new age.  But since it had a piano bass and drums trio I decided to chance it.  Released through Island/Antilles New Directions back when Island was still looking for real artists and not Justin Bieber, The Legend Of Tsumi when first heard reminds me a lot of Dave Brubeck although further research shows a more Bill Evans influence.  Beginning with the 8 minute Orange City, the time signature reminds me of Take Five till a more avant garde arrangement takes hold between Laszlo and Bill Moses on drums. Second favorite song is the very brief Trickster to which sorry only lasts a minute thirty eight and shows more band interplay.  Still the inner beauty of the mellow tracks (Sunrise, Anne's Dream) are dreamy without falling into boring new age territory, and are probably more Bill Evans than Brubeck   For a late 80's jazz piece, this album might be considered a classic in its own way, Gardony's piano work is impeccable and the band of Dave Holland on bass and the aforementioned Bill Moses on drums compliments greatly.  For paying a quarter for this is quite a bargain indeed.
Grade A-

Thousand Yard Stare-Hands On (Polydor)

A Britpop band that didn't make it, this was the first of two albums that they did and basically it starts out quite good with the oddball title 0-0 a.e.t. or No Score After Extra Time and their sound wasn't much different than The Mighty Lemon Drops or The La's although somebody there must have been listening to The Ocean Blue as well.  Produced by Steven Street (The Smiths, The Dylans) who at that time was one of the go to producers of Brit Pop.  The Dylans were a little bit more hooky and more perferrable  to Thousand Yard Stare but this record does have some moments of brilliance.  Another 25 cent special from Pawn America to which I think we picked the bones clean on that place anyway.
Grade B+

Renaissance (Elektra)

Keith Relf may have been the weakest link on the Yardbirds but then again that band was legendary for their guitar players be it Eric, Jeff or Jimmy, plus they had one of the best bass player and later producer to the starts in Paul Samwell Smith and Jim McCarty a great drummer, but Relf's vocals were good in the Birds. With the Yardbirds imploding, Keith and Jim jumped ship leaving Jimmy Page to fend for himself but Jimmy got replacements that would rewrite rock and roll history.  What Keith and Jim came up was Renaissance, a piano driven prog rock outfit that made a meandering album for Elektra.  The 10 minute lead off Kings And Queens really isn't that bad as John Hawken's classical keyboards dominate the song and for that matter the album.  Side 2 doesn't go much anywhere and Bullet, the final track makes King Crimson Moonchild seem like a rock and roll song although the strange ending kinda compensates a dull track.  I give it points for creativity but it's a C plus overall album.


Everything Happens To Me-Sonny Rollins
Tell Me Why-Noel And The Red Wedge
Mr. Jones (Ballad Of A Thin Man) The Grass Roots
Foolish Heart-The Grateful Dead
Please-The Kaleidoscope
Ich Bin Sin Auslander-Pop Will Eat Itself
Steal My Sunshine-Len
I'm Just Not The Man To Be Tied-Soup
Show Biz Blues-Fleetwood Mac
The Departed-Iggy And The Stooges

I have no idea what the hell happened to all the pictures posted.  It's not worth the effort to repost them. again. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Last Bargain Hunt: Madison Under Snowflakes

Celebrating 20 years of going up to Madison, I have seen my share of ups and downs, but perhaps this trip may have been one of the strangest trips ever gone.  When I first plan this trip the weekend was supposed to be nice and sunny but by Saturday a threat of the 38th snow storm this winter, I cut short the trip and went home in the afternoon only to get stuck in a snowstorm in Dubuque and two fucking idiot drivers tailgating in the process. The Chinese buffet next to CDs 4 Change is now out of business replaced by a cellphone company.  The snowstorm finally let up after getting past the Cascade exit and dumbass driver number 2 getting off somewhere there.

Madison was hit and miss again, and I almost got my car towed since it was rush hour and you can't park in the street on Williamson Street and at the St Vincent De Paul. But I managed to start the car up and high tailed and made a face at the tow truck driver with boots in hand ready to steal Redd from me and probably another 500 dollar bailout. No thank you.  But on the other hand, I got to see two lesbians make out at the Mexican place, and two trailer trash couples playing suck face at Pawn America, and basically what's left for CDs is junk although I did manage to find a few oddball bands that nobody gives a shit about. This time out, Mad City Music X had nothing for me to buy, and I discovered that the best place for vinyl is Strictly Discs on Monroe Street, and that the basement that I knew nothing about had plenty of records to choose from, I picked three from the dollar bins, including the Paley Brothers' 1978 album on Sire, that I have never seen before.  The good stuff is hidden in the basement and although reviews of the help have been mixed, they were courteous and helpful.  I didn't stopped in B Sides and Sugar Shack due to time and weather restraints but both Strictly Discs and Mad City Music X were much more busier than the last time I stopped in.  Maybe the resurgence of  vinyl is making a comeback.

Half Priced Books in both locations had a few dollar cds worth getting and the Friday Night 20 percent off sale helped me in buying the first Renaissance LP (with Keith Relf) on Elektra and the other Ruben And The Jets album that came out on Mercury but didn't have Frank Zappa helping out.  But both St Vincent De Pauls, Goodwills and Salvation Army had nothing that I bought.  I really haven't had much luck in the previous four or five times I stopped at the Goodwills, they always seem to be picked apart.  The east side Pre Played had a couple of out of print CDs that I acquired Soup and Brian Auger Straight Ahead.

But for new music, I've never seen places so scattershot.  Best Buy doesn't have shit anymore, so basically you're better off going Strictly Discs or Mad City Music X or B Sides for the latest. Since I didn't pick up the new Los Lobos album at Mad City Music X, I thought the others would have it but they didn't.  In the end, Strictly Discs wins out on the best place to find the hard the find, including Best Of Ten Wheel Drive as  a promo CD.

Last time I spent the night at Mircotel, their room sucked, but a return visit actually has some refurbished rooms, new plasma TVs and (less) More digital channels although I couldn't tell which was which but when discovered MeTV, I didn't watch anything else.   WORT remains the best Madison station but it's getting to the point that I can't get into the new music although the track they played off Beck's new album was pretty good.  I might consider buying that when i get paid.  However, I did buy the new Grassroots Complete Dunhill Moondog Music on the way home.

Life in Madison, strange as ever; at 2:30 AM, the fire truck and rescue unit was outside the hotel, I ended up opening a bottle of root beer and have it sprayed all over my coat.  Some old woman at Salvation Army had her car blocking the driveway, as some poor dude trying to push her car back, she kept hitting the horn.  Probably would have made a bit more difference if she took the damn thing out of park.  Gas prices were 3.59 up there, the temps on Friday was about 40 degrees but a chilly NW wind made me grab my winter coat out of the car.  Both lakes still have their ice blanket and I did my usual walk around State Street and seeing new buildings replacing the old and of course having Ian's Pizza for a noon time snack.

For those who venture out this way looking for record stores. there's still a few to check out but for the professional digger, Strictly Disc and Sugar Shack remain the go to places,  Mad City Music X this time seemed to be picked apart. 

So I'm sure Mad City will see me again, but hopefully the next time, it won't be snowing. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Archives: Ragged Records Revisited.

A week after Ann Arbor, the bargain hunting mobile took a trip down to Davenport for the first time in almost a year.  I was informed that there were two record stores that were in downtown, Tom told me about the Source Book Store and Jenna told me about Ragged Records, both within walking distance of each other and about a block away from the Mississippi River.

(KWQC Photo)

I didn't have time to stop at Stuff Etc, which is next door to Big Lots and Goodwill was closed at 6 but I spent about 2 hours at both Source Book Store and then at Ragged Records.

Source Book Store has been around for years but this is my first time of actually knowing it existed and I did managed to find a couple albums of note:  Who Live At Leeds at 3 dollars and Detective It Takes One To Know One for 2, which replaced a warped copy that I got at Arizona and couldn't play.  However The Sports 1980 And Suddenly cost 6 bucks, probably should have put that one back.  The cheap LPs were up front and the back but the pricey albums were in the basement and there was lots of albums to sort and seek through.

Ragged Records has the most 45s that I have ever seen in this day and age.  Call my crazy but had to get a replacement copy of Call Me Lightning by The Who for six bucks but Ragged also had a promo copy of that album and about 10 copies of Emmit Rhodes 1970 hit Fresh As A Daisy.  They pretty let me sort through the ones not categorized to which I found Ted Casady's The Lurch for Capitol.  Perhaps the find of the day was John Mayall's 1988 CD Chicago Line to which I had once and gave it away to somebody and could never locate a copy till Ragged Records had one for 25 bucks.  I usually don't go all out on out of print stuff but this Cd has become so rare that I figured I better just pay it now and not waste gas making a second trip later.  I think it was Bob that waited on me on the 45s and he's a expert in pricing them.  The building is located before the bridge across the Mississippi to the Arsenal and it's so unassuming that you'd never know it is a record store although there's a small sign out in front.

This is Bob Herington.  Owner of Ragged Records, he got to meet me in 45 bins. Great guy.  This is location of Ragged Records (past the iron bridge)

Record Store Day
Moline still has the FYE store in the mall but I found nothing and got bored with them in a hurry.  Same thing with the Books A Minute store on 53rd which takes over for Borders in the same spot.  I don't think their selection is any more better than the Dubuque store.  But after going to Source Book Store and Ragged Records, I really didn't see the need to go anywhere else.  Ragged Records is for the hardcore music collector.  To which I'm sure they'll be seeing me once again before the year is out.

And there's Co Op Records in Moline.

I figured the last time I went to Davenport I was complaining there wasn't any good music stores when I didn't pay much attention to what was downtown.   Looks like Davenport has inched ahead of Dubuque and Iowa City in terms of music stores to speak of.  I'm sure I'm due for a IC trip soon.  Bargain hunters never sleep.

From Ragged Records
John Mayall/Bluesbreakers-Chicago Line (Island 1988)
The Silencers-Dance To The Holy Man (RCA 1989)

The Who-Call Me Lightning (Decca 32288)
Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity-This Wheels On Fire (Atco 6593)
The Detergents-Double-O-Seven (Roulette 4603)
Ted Cassidy-The Lurch (Capitol 5503)
Earl Knight/George Kelley-Let It Roll Part 1 and 2 (ABC Paramount 10023)
Wadsworth Mansion-Sweet Mary (Long Version) Sussex SUX 209
The Dictators-Sleeping With The TV On (Asylum 45470)
Fats Domino-Red Sails In The Sunset (ABC Paramount 10484)
Don Gibson-I Let Her Get Lonely (RCA 47-8017)

45 not brought due to a crack:
The Wildweeds-No Good To Cry (Cadet 5561) (Features Al Anderson later of NRBQ fame)

Too scratchy to get from the Salvation Army
Jo Jo Gunne-Rock Around The Symbol (Asylum AS 11012)

Cd from Salvation Army
Johnny Mathis (Columbia 1956, 1996 Reissue)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Playlist 3-12-14

So here we are chomping at the bit but finally winter is beginning to lose its grip here and you can feel the subtle changes happening.  Of course we gain an hour due to the Government approved Daylight Savings Time and get to hang out later on the trails but in the process losing an hour of sleep.  Not that I sleep all that great without a elixir of ZZZquil and a couple of Tyenol PMs to knock me out till the next day, then and only then do I get the full 7 hours needed to get through the day.

Seems to me while reading Trucker Kitty's blog of the past year we're watching a meltdown unfold. With her returning to China next month we'll won't be hearing much from her, which is a shame. But I don't know, she's been more depressed than ever this year.  It's been like that since George Jones left us.

Imagine that, another hang up, more data lost, a typical summing up the parts here. I could write a War And Peace Kindle novel with all the stuff that has lost due to "application hung up" or Plug in container hung up messages and fucking Firefox if I want to continue messages. A fucking piss off if you ask me, so let's type this again for the 44th time.  The ratings here suck, we might not make it to 2,000, so forthcoming blogs (if things work and that's a big IF) will be a ICON series of Iconic artists and bands, maybe a singles going steady theme and another bargain hunt in the forthcoming months.

The college basketball tourneys have started which leads to the NCAA's and we have a tale of two teams.  The Hawkeye women almost managed to beat Nebraska if the mighty corn ladies didn't help gratuitous help from three dyke referees and shooting 36 times from the free throw line to the lady hawks 14.  Really Nebraska needed no help from the refs as they dominated the boards something like 56 to 27 rebounding and outlasted the exhausted but still fighting Iowa team 72-65 who could have been the first team ever to win four games in this exhausting format.  Good job ladies.

On the other side of the coin, the men's team *sigh*.  A pattern of inconsistency has dogged this team from going one of the best Big ten teams to who the fuck are we today, the team that shows up and dominates from start to finish as they did as they blew out Michigan and outlasted Penn State the next game to a bad clown team that would play one half and not the other and outside of a ho hum victory over Purdue, managed to get their ass kicked all over the place by Wisconsin, Michigan State and last place Illinois on a last second shot to really make me wonder if they will do a one and out in the Big Ten championship next week and NCAA's a week later.  Roy Devyn Marble at times shows up as the leader, then next game doesn't and this schizophrenic play has turned this year's team into a disappointment.  They actually won more regular season games this year but had they kept their leads in other games, we could be talking about a 28 game winning season instead of 20.  Hawkeyes fans, spoiled as they are, I know I'm one,  should remember five years ago of the chaos and missing pieces left by former AD asshole John Bowlsby's ill advised telling Tom Davis to take a hike despite the NCAA appearances Iowa enjoyed in Dr. Tom's era and getting pretty boy Steve Alford for seven seasons of ups and downs (the 26 wins season Steve had in 2006, ended of course in a first round NCAA loss) and watching him leave suffering through 3 head scratching seasons of Todd Lickliter and Fran McCaffery taking over and rebuilding through 3 stepping stone years (ending with a NIT title loss but still a title game nonetheless), which promised better things for this year?  Not exactly, the Hawkeyes have been sleepwalking though most of the second half of the season and if they don't get their shit together, rest assured social media nation will be hearing a lot of territorial bitchings we haven't seen since Alford high tailed it right out of town to the arms of loving New Mexico fans before he pissed them off and bolted to UCLA this year........................where Bruin fans have been bitching about how lousy his coaching has been all down to a 20 loss team Washington State Cougars sweeping UCLA for the first time since 1936.  A 72-55 drubbing.  If you think that's bad Bruin nation just wait till the NCAA's when Alford does his fine one and done choke job in the tourney's.  To which the ghost of John Wooden will be turning in his grave and haunting the UCLA booster club till they either fire Alford or he skips town.  Either way he wins.


The annual Gordon Forcee town meeting took place this year and at this time last year, the idiot was telling that changes were coming and most of printing was going north in the mist of a reorganizing plan that has been a laughing stock this season with the printing problems of Minnesota being evident in shoddy forms and the other boss idiot from there Hal bitching we didn't train them right.  Sorry Hal, but you guys didn't ask me to join the Minnesota training fun and the guy we tried to train took a 3 month vacation in the Philippines. So once it's the rah rah report and the major deal is how Minnesota is going to cope with these new and exciting projects that we have coming in.  It's not like I give a shit, I've been working in the old printing department last week to help them get through the backlog of things needed to be done (no need to thank me Gordon, a nice pay raise will do) and not getting my own projects at home done.  With the onslaught of springtime and testing at schools going full tilt, I familiarize myself with the Cal Starr project one last time (before it goes away for good) and separating countless sheets of AID1 headers and listening to some CDs I brought to work but didn't bring enough and ran out of tunes.  I won't get into great details of Gordon's speech and state of the company I'll give you my assessment of things to be, and we will be busy from now till June.  And I also think that Minnesota will NOT be able to handle the volume of things coming in and this might come into play that they may have to either rethink of bring printing back down here, or add more space to their cramped Owatonna  home.  Of course there's this bullshit they call Hoshin, or another of those half assed rah rah things that supposed to build up company morale or company planning.  It's misspelled of course, it's Horseshit and trying to stomach through this with the robotic Minnesota dingbats from the other plant takes a certain style and skill to get through.   My Hoshin is planning another bargain hunt for the month and going to somewhere I haven't been in about a half year.  I have two places on consideration. Guess which ones?  But as for Gordon, I await the next town meeting just to say we told you so.  And you're still a idiot.  The bottom graphic dedicated with love to the Packaging boss who kept giving me dirty looks as I got drafted into the old printing area last week.  It's called Sharing Resources, something you approved wholeheartedly last year.  Be careful of what you wish for....

Buren Fowler, guitarist for Drivin' and Cryin' passed away. unknown cause of death. He played on Whisper Tames The Lion through Wrapped In Sky. 

The Drive By Truckers' English Oceans became the first 2014 new record bought and reviewed (see last week's playlist for review) but I do not forsee very many new releases this month.  A lot of the new music sucks and since we're not around many record stores, I have fallen out of what's new and what's exciting.  The SXSW festival in Austin is starting up but honestly, I have not paid attention to that either.  I think there's a time in life that even myself has a limit in what to listen to and besides, I have plenty of music here to fall back to.  It's just fun to discover something that I missed the first time.  But if I work my way up to Madison or Moondog in Dubuque I'm sure that they or Strictly Discs or Mad City Music X will have something of value to take home.  I don't hold much hope for Pawn America to have much for CDs anymore, last October's finds were shitty at best.  CDs have become today's 8 tracks, hard to find except when you do find them, they're mostly shitty bands or shitty rappers of 5 or 10 years ago.  Today's music has no lasting value despite what they tell you about The National or Arcade Fire or the flavor of the week.  Bro Country is crap, worse than rap and the headache of the week is Cole Swindell's Chillin' It, yet another video that has a goofball in a baseball cap, lusting after a scantly clad cutie in a jeep. GAC seems to do that, show the same 10 videos of the same theme, beer, scantly clad women and horny guys with baseball caps on chasing them around and getting them.   Swindell, once upon a time, Luke Bryan's merchandise guy, gets his own gig after making some Bro country inspired song that Bryan cowrote and Florida Georgia Line got a hit out of it.  Enough said.  Cole may considered next time not to wear a baseball cap with CS on it, yeah I know it's his name but I'm sure there's a few sarcastic motherfuckers out there would line those up with different names, me included.  But that's the way the music rolls today.  As refreshing as beer farts.

On that side note, here's a blog that keeps you up to date on the latest country stuff, both good, bad and bro. Somebody has to do it right?  So trust Vickye.

Vinyl Lovin:

Swinging Steaks-Southside Of The Sky (Capricorn 1993)

IMO, the 90s were the last truly good decade to discover new music and the Americana was still in its infancy, Uncle Tupelo the most known but they were imploding before our very eyes by the time The Steaks came into view.  When Phil Walden was starting up Capricorn Records in the 90s he signed a few oddball bands along the way, 311 the best selling out of all bands Widespread Panic the best.  The Swinging Steaks were one of the better bands, hailing from Boston and expressing a love for Gram Parsons and the Submarine Band...and of course The Rolling Stones with some Black Crowes thrown in for new music taste. But from what I have heard, that the majority of this album came from 1992 Suicide At The Wishing Well to which Gary Katz (Steely Dan, Root Boy Slim) produced and remixed some of the songs.  At times a catchier Gear Daddies can be heard in Adelaide or Do Me A Favor, (Flying Burritos sounding song). It's all fine and dandy and when they catch fire on Right Through You, they even can out rock The Rolling Stones. A lost classic album to which I located a 50 cent copy at Pawn World in Kingman a few years ago.
Grade A-

1927...ish (Atlantic 1989)

Only claim to fame is the album jacket saying they won 2 Australian music awards including best new debut (..ish) and they have a sound not unlike INXS around the Kick period.  The ballads suck but if they hit a rocking groove (The Mess, To Love Me) they hold my attention.  Till they start doing more ballads and I lose interest.
Grade B-

Squeeze-Argybargy (A&M 1980)

I find them to be an acquired taste but this 1980 classic album is my go to when I want to hear Difford and Tilbrook with Jules Holland playing keyboards before leaving for a solo career and missing out on a big hit Tempted (Sung by Paul Carrack (ACE)) The only misstep on this album is a snoozer called Here Comes That Feeling but it has the hits Pulling Mussels (from a shell) and Another Nail In My Heart.  Somehow I consider them to be the bridge to Rockpile to XTC to Elvis Costello when I put on this album.  They're better than you think
Grade A- 


That'll Be The Day-The Crickets
Right Through You-Swinging Steaks
The Part Of Him-Drive By Truckers
Ain't She Sweet-Tony Sheridan And The Beat Brothers
Bootleg-Credence Clearwater Revival
What'll I Do-Johnny Tillotson
Doris Day-Sordid Humor
Huff N Puff-Parlet
Hostage Of Love-Razorlight
The Queen's Tattoos-Aztec Camera

Followup: The Iowa Hawkeyes lost to Northwestern in the first game of the Big Ten Tournament.  The Purple Passion hit 11 3 point baskets in route to another lackluster performance by the Hawks although Roy Devyn Marble, in the final stages of his college career is going out in a blaze of glory.  The logic thinking is that Iowa will be in the NCAA's to hopefully show up to play before doing the one and done that they have done so well in recent memory.  But then again they caught fire last year in the NITs and made it to the Championship game.  One could only hope to a disappointing season to which each and every team seems to shoot 50 percent or better from 3 point land on the Hawks' home court than the home team bouncing off the hoop like we have seen time and time again.

On a positive note the Lady Hawks will host the first two rounds in Iowa City on the 23 and 25 of this month. Good job ladies, I'm sure you could kick the men's ass around like every other team has the second half of the year. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Divine Madness-Bill Amesbury

Quick now what was the first album released on Casablanca?  If you said KISS.  WRONG.  According to Larry Harris tell all book And Party Every Day-The Inside Story Of Casablanca Records, although KISS S/T album was NB 9001, it was Bill Amesbury-Jes A Taste Of The Kid that was the first record released on the upstart label, at that time distributed by Warner Brothers.   Harris didn't think much of Bill's album, nor the hit single Virginia (Touch Me Like You Do) but in my youth, I found a 50 cent 8 track of Bill's album to help me through the trying times of high school.  And would find the LP for a dollar later on.

I have ...The Kid in my top 10 all time favorite albums of all time, not that it matters to you but the songs were easy to sing along and basically told my life story as well.....BUT I never knew by the lyrics themselves that Bill was a woman trapped in a man's body and the song titles speak for themselves, Bill's Song in particular or That Close To Me which was wronged love songs in themselves.  Bill in the mid 70s was a capable producer that produced a few other minor bands in Canada but for the most part he was the main producer and songwriter on his albums.  And Virginia which reached number 59 on the charts (No 27 on the local station here) and is credited as the first Casablanca single NEB-0001.  Followup single, the delightful Rock My Roll failed to chart and Amesbury was cut loose from the label, signing to Capitol for the forgotten but perhaps better put together Can You Feel It, to which the telling A Thrill's A Thrill (later covered by Mitch Ryder and Marianne Faithful in 1983)  actually reveals more of a lesbian slant, (I know a boy growing tits, is he referring to himself?).  I never knew this record existed till I found it at a big dollar sale in Target in 1980.  It's more polished and a bit more professional sounding.  On a side note: Lucky Day was playing in my cassette player when I saw my ex high school sweetheart walking with a new love interest sometime in 1980 so it actually has some meaning in my life.  Unlike yours.  Can You Feel It kinda lose it's momentum on side 2, to me it's slightly less better than Taste Of The Kid. And a bit more toward disco, as witness to the title track. Nevertheless after the failure of Can You Feel It, Capitol dropped him and  Amesbury dropped out of sight and became the most famous transsexual in Canada and becoming a she. And retiring from music to go into artwork.  Even with Google, there hasn't been any pictures of Barbra (Bill) Amesbury online anywhere although I'm sure with a more aggressive search they might be found.

Nevertheless it's a moot point anyway, and Amesbury although a  minor artist, did made a major impact in my listening tastes in the late 70s with the goodtime sound of Virigina.  He may have been very early in the party in terms of camp and bisexuality that would play a big role in the disco sounds of Casablanca, you could probably consider him as outrageous as the Village People although his was very low key.  I wish I could piece together a much more concise picture between the then and now but there's really not much out there to go upon.   But his albums told more to the story about him and nowadays I have a  different viewpoint of listening to A Thrill's A Thrill or Every Women In The World Tonight.  Maybe he was a true lesbian in a man's body.

Jes A Taste Of The Kid (Casablanca 1974)  A-
Can You Feel It (Capitol 1976) B+